Independent Living Institute


Workgroup for People's Health and Rights

David Werner and Jason Weston


International Advisory Board
Allison Akana - United States
Dwight Clark -Volunteers in Asia
David Sanders - South Africa
Mira Shiva - India
Michael Tan - Philippines
Pamela Zinken - United Kingdom
Maria Zuniga - Nicaragua

The Workgroup for People's Health and Rights - HealthWrights - is committed to advancing the health, basic rights, social equality, and self-determination of disadvantaged persons and groups. We believe that health for all people is only possible in a global society where the guiding principles are sharing, mutual assistance, equity and a respect for cultural and individual differences.

HealthWrights activities include:

HealthWrights works closely with PROJIMO (Program of Rehabilitation Organized by Disabled Youth of Western Mexico) and with Project Piaxtla (a villager-run health initiative out of which PROJIMO grew).

HealthWrights founder David Werner, former director of the Hesperian Foundation, is well known for his many books, including Where There Is No Doctor, published in over 80 languages, Disabled Village Children, Helping Health Workers Learn and two new books, Questioning the Solution: The Politics of Primary Health Care and Child Survival and Nothing About Us Without Us: developing innovative technologies for, by and with disabled persons. David’s experience and knowledge come from over 30 years of work in rural villages of Mexico, as well as travel and training among grassroots health practitioners around the world.


Where There Is No Doctor / Donde No Hay Doctor
David Werner
US$15 English /Spanish

Helping Health Workers Learn / Aprendiendo a Promover la Salud
David Werner & Bill Bower
US$17 English /Spanish

Questioning the Solution:
The Politics of Primary Health Care and Child Survival
David Werner & David Sanders
US$ 18 Soft-English
US$30 Hard-English

Disabled Village Children / El Nino Campesino Deshabilitado
David Werner
US$18 English / Spanish

Nothing About Us Without Us: Developing Innovative Technologies For, By and With Disabled Persons
David Werner
US$15 English

Where There Is No Dentist / Donde No Hay Dentista
Murray Dickson
US$6.50 English / Spanish

The Concept of Health Under National Democratic Struggle
International People's Health Council
US$8 English

Note: add US$5 per book for overseas postage (surface).
No shipping charges to U.S. addresses. Contact them for airmail rates.

Newsletter from the Sierra Madre

Regular Annual Subscription (3 issues) US$ 15

Supporter Annual Subscription (3 issues for yourself and a Third World health worker) US$30

Airmail (per issue) US$2
Discounts: write for information on poor country prices and bulk discounts
California residents: include 8.25% sales tax
Orders sent to the US from overseas: please send US dollars from a US bank or local currency from a local bank. We cannot accept US dollars from foreign banks.

Books and Newsletter can be ordered from:

PO Box 1344
Palo Alto, Ca 94302

tel: (650) 325 7500
fax: (650) 325 1080

Questioning the Solution:
The Politics of Primary Health Care and Child Survival

A Publication from HealthWrights that asks why 13 million children still die each year from preventable causes.

Written by David Werner author of Where There is No Doctor and David Sanders author of The Struggle for Health

"David Werner and David Sanders are truth tellers who force us to confront essential and difficult questions. Anyone who is not uncomfortable reading this book has simply missed the point."
- Norbert Hirschhorn, MD International Consultant in Primary Health Care

"Questioning the Solution cuts like a precision laser beam through the self-serving myths and misguided policies propagated by official aid bureaucracies and by profit-seeking corporations from the baby food and pharmaceutical industries. Essential reading for every aid worker and responsible citizen."
- David C. Korten President, People Centered Development Forum and author, When Corporations Rule the World

"Questioning the Solution shows the way 'solutions' are formulated by so-called experts and imposed not just on villages, but on entire countries. It helps us understand why even the World Bank can now talk about the relationship between poverty and ill health. 'Poverty' is a safe word, skirting the underlying gross inequities in power and access to resources. One word continues to be rare in most mainstream documents: justice."
- Michael Tan Health Action Information Network, Philippines and author, Dying for Drugs

What you will find in Questioning the Solution

Part One explores the rise and fall of Primary Health Care (PHC), originally envisioned as a comprehensive strategy for providing services and addressing the underlying social, economic and political causes of poor health.

As a case study, in Part Two the authors show how marketing Oral Rehydration Therapy as a commercial product, rather than encouraging self-reliance, has turned this potentially life-saving technology into yet another way of exploiting and further impoverishing the poor.

Part Three examines the factors that determine the health of populations.

Part Four turns to solutions that empower the poor, with examples including: "Every person interested in health issues in developing countries should read this book."
Richard Laing, Professor of International Health, Boston University

"Questioning the Solution is a labour of love: a product of experience, research and decades of deep involvement of the authors with the health concerns of the poor. This powerful book inspires health action for change."
Mira Shiva, MD, All India Drug Action Network

Questioning the Solutions can also be ordered from:

PO Box 1344
Palo Alto, Ca 94302

International People's Health Council
Apartado 3267

SALS Bookshop
Industria House
150 Victoria Road
Salt River, Cape Town

Nothing About Us Without Us: Developing Innovative Technologies For, By and With Disabled Persons

A Publication from HealthWrights by David Werner author of Disabled Village Children and Where There is No Doctor

A book of true stories about people's creative search for solutions, written for disabled persons and their relatives, friends, helpers and anyone who favors a Society for All.

What you will find in Nothing About Us Without Us

This book differs from many appropriate technology manuals in that it puts emphasis not so much on the end-products - or things - as on the persons involved and the collective process of search and discovery.

Nothing About Us has been written as a companion to David Werner's earlier book, Disabled Village Children, now used in Community Based Rehabilitation programs worldwide.

The book explores the development of innovative aids and equipment that can be made at low cost, at home, or in a small community workshop. It also considers how to achieve fuller integration of disabled people into society: ways to help communities look at disabled persons' strengths, not their weaknesses. Examples of Child-to-Child activities show how disabled and non-disabled children can work, play and learn together, to enrich one another's lives.

This is not a ’cookbook’ with precise instructions for making pre-designed devices. Rather it is about thinking through challenges and possibilities. Solutions are best when the disabled person is a partner and equal in the problem-solving process. The goal of this book is to spark the reader's imagination - to stimulate a spirit of adventure!

The book is based on years of collaborative work by David Werner and the disabled villagers who created and run PROJIMO, an innovative rehabilitation program in rural Mexico. It also draws on experiences from many other parts of the world.

Over 800 line drawings and 600 photos help make the information clear for those with little formal education. The book will be available in Spanish in the summer of 1998.

In the words of community rehabilitation pioneer, Mike Miles, ’This is primarily a book about learning to think.’

The book includes:

Introduction: Disabled persons as leaders in the problemsolving process

Part One: The purpose of special seating: Freedom and development, not confinement

Part Two: Creative solutions to personal and situational needs

Part Three: Freedom on wheels: Designing mobility aids to meet individual needs

Part Four: Innovative methods and approaches: People helping and learning from each other as equals

Part Five: Child-to-Child activities that include and empower disabled children

The book can be ordered from HealthWrights

P O. Box 1344
Palo Alto, Ca 94302