8 March 2019
The most comprehensive textbook ever brought out in Community Medicine for UG and PG exams, great for MD-level too. No other textbook in the market today (including the older ones) can claim to be as comprehensive and student-friendly as this book. Latest with all topics covered, including Ayushman Bharat, Health Insurance, Health Financing, Emergency Medical Services in Community, Doctor-Patient Communication in Medicine etc. Latest syllabus of MCI covered completely. Also covers many topics not found elsewhere, but which are of utmost importance for a medical graduate / student in India. Overall, a great introduction which shall be an asset for all medical students !
Actual review of Bhalwar's recent textbook, 3rd edition by a final year MBBS student of a leading medical college of India....
INTRODUCTION : Textbook of Community Medicine by Rajvir Bhalwar is a remarkably structured, lucid, and interesting textbook on Community Medicine. In an era where many books on the subject exist, each with its own flaws – often replete with information but devoid of engaging text – this book not only manages to bridge the gap between providing essential knowledge and generating a passion for the subject, but also stands out in terms of its organisation, and unparalleled clarity.
HIGHLIGHTS : As a student myself, the aspects of the book that stood out and made me cherish the book were -
• Bulleted format and tables – The book is replete with useful boxes, flow charts, and graphs – tools that help a student to learn, and remember better. The simplification of treatment regimens and health policies through well-defined tables is commendable.
• Images, logos and flow charts – Replete with relevant photographs of instruments, logos, and boxes on case scenarios, the book manages to keep the student thoroughly immersed in the text and promotes retention of concepts. Flow charts explaining principles of experimental studies, clinical trials, etc. are extremely beneficial, both to reciprocate in exams as well as to aid memorisation.
• Comprehensive text – The organisation inherent in this textbook is perhaps an unparalleled achievement. A subject as intricate as PSM necessitates structure and layering of text under appropriate headings, and that is uniquely provided in this book.
• MCQs integrated at the end of each chapter are relished by all aiming for a good PG rank, and the book thus manages to be indispensable for PG preparation as well.
PRESENTATION : Overall, the book is engaging, attractive, and well-oriented. At first glance, the first feature one notices about the book is the sheer simplicity and perspicuity of layout. The quality of paper used is superior to most books and the font is clear, adequately sized, and highlighted where required. Typing errors are minimal, almost nil. The chapter heading next to the page number allows for quick access to content and keeps the idea in focus. Binding is strong.
CONTENT : The content is indeed the centrepiece of any text, and there is no ambiguity on the unparalleled quality inherent in this book. It succeeds in imparting the essence of community medicine with the requisite refinement and attention to detail.
• Updated Information – All healthcare policies, programs and legislations are up-to-date and thus ensure that one needn’t look any further to get updated knowledge.
• The chapter on Historical Concepts in particular is very well compartmentalised and supplemented by a concise timeline of important public health events in the current decade.
• The section on Epidemiology is a stand-out gem of the book – the flow diagrams and charts for cohort study, experimental protocols, and descriptive studies are impeccably precise and simple to grasp.
• Biostatistics is often a confounding topic for UG students, yet the book has succeeded in imparting all the essential concepts and skills while maintaining an ease of reading and comprehension. This section is commonly overlooked in contemporary textbooks.
• Environmental Health is covered with the nuance and delicacy essential to imprint the importance of the entailed topics. The visual coverage for the systems of excreta disposal and water supply are much appreciated.
• The chapter covering Geriatric health has been given due importance, often lacking in most books.
• Nutrition and Health is covered in a tabular theme throughout - thus emphasising the values that need to be committed to memory.
• The section on communicable diseases is covered under relevant heading. Clinical features, diagnosis and treatment are presented in a concise format. The sections on vaccination are highlights. The chapter on Tuberculosis is indeed covered with as much importance and detail as is worthy of a disease as significant in India.
• The Appendix is truly a gift to the exam-going student. Photo gallery is lucid and has all adequate images. The quick revision gallery explaining the important terms is a unique feature and a great aid in comprehension.
SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT : These are based solely on my preference and understanding of books and may not necessarily reflect popular opinion.
• Colour images : The images used in the book are impeccably precise and relevant, however, imparting colour to the images will be appreciated. The photo gallery, in particular, would be highly benefited with colour.
• Volume compaction : The book, while being to-the-point and precise, feels a little bulky to carry on a day-to-day basis. Perhaps dividing into two volumes might improve the ease of use.
• Chapter Outline at the beginning of each chapter will surely help with a mental layout.
• Summary at the end of each chapter, in key bullet points, will make the learning process holistic and promote longer retention.
SUMMARY : Textbook of Community Medicine is most certainly a candidate to be the ideal book for MBBS social and preventive medicine. It is the perfect blend of style and substance – lucidly presented, impeccably precise yet thoroughly informative. The incorporation of PG entrance based text and MCQs makes it a one stop solution for both needs – MBBS and PG entrance. The book will surely be a formidable force in the realm of books on the subject and can slowly, but surely, become the standard textbook for community medicine.