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Book Review

Selection of basic laboratory equipment for laboratories with limited resources.

Warren L. Johns and Mohamed M. El-Nageh

WHO Regional Publication, Eastern Mediterranean Series 17.

This book addresses a very important subject area, where very little literature exists.  Limited resources are wasted daily in developing countries when inappropriate laboratory equipment is purchased.  The book is an excellent guide to choosing and purchasing laboratory equipment for peripheral laboratories in developing countries.  The book is divided into three sections: Choosing and buying laboratory equipment; Energy requirements for laboratory equipment; and Information annexes. 

The first section guides the reader through the process of decision making prior to purchasing the equipment, provides useful information on the procurement process, how to deal with suppliers, how to evaluate quotations and how to make rational selections of equipment.

Chapter 4 points out what to consider after equipment has been received, such as, care and maintenance of the equipment and the importance of equipment SOPs.  How to buy second-hand laboratory equipment is explained in Chapter 5.  Chapter 6 of the first section gives detailed information on points that are important when choosing minor equipment and consumables.  The alphabetic listing of items makes it an easy-to-use reference list.

The most valuable part of the book is chapter 7, which has been printed on yellow paper to make it stand out.  The chapter lists all major equipment for intermediate and peripheral laboratories in alphabetical order from autoclave to waterbath.  A quick reference guide for each item and a form for assessment of quotations provide all the points that should be considered when buying the equipment.

Section two, gives information on different energy supplies and energy requirements with detailed information on batteries and solar energy supply systems. 

Section Three has 10 annexes, which include, equipment data specification sheet for all major equipment, equipment donation guidelines, useful addresses and a detailed glossary of terms and abbreviations. 

I believe this book should be on the shelf of all that are involved with the purchase and ordering of laboratory equipment in peripheral laboratories in developing countries.  An excellent and much needed book!

Gabriele Mallapaty, May 2000

Note: Refer to the Resource Centre if you would like to purchase this book.

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The Public Health Care Laboratory - 2001 Gabriele Mallapaty