2nd ed, by Kraesten Engbaek, Claus C. Heuck, A. H. Moody, 384 pp, with illus, Geneva, Switzerland, World Health Organization, 2003.

The Manual of Basic Techniques for a Health Laboratory, 2nd edition, is intended for use by medical laboratories in developing countries (ie, in small or medium-sized laboratories attached to regional laboratories) and in dispensaries and rural health centers, where the laboratory technician often has to work alone.

The manual is a superb compendium of basic procedures, for example, the examination of stools for helminth eggs, blood for malaria parasites, sputum for the tubercle bacillus, urine for bile pigments, blood for determination of white cells, and blood for the determination of blood glucose. All procedures are superbly illustrated for use at the laboratory bench. In addition to these examples, the book offers a comprehensive approach to the process of setting up a laboratory.

This manual is an absolute necessity in laboratories that are being instituted in developing countries. Most importantly, the manual complements international standards that are written for quality management in a medical laboratory.