This introductory chapter provides an overview of the book's key themes and arguments. This book focuses on failures in the prevention and treatment of infectious disease occasioned by the inadequate application of laboratory diagnosis—or what is referred to as diagnostic insufficiency. It explores the deficit in an often-repeated sequence of events that begins with health-seeking, includes treatment, and aims to end in cure. The book argues that it is not enough to get patients to clinics and to administer medicines to them. A diagnosis must precede treatment—one that is rigorous and precise. For infectious diseases, particularly in parts of the world like sub-Saharan Africa, this includes laboratory examination of patient specimens in order to identify the cause of infection.
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