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Indian Journal of Community Medicine

Book Review: Foundation of Community Medicine

Author(s): Dr. Amarjeet Singh

Vol. 31, No. 1 (2006-01 - 2006-03)

Foundation of Community Medicine , GM Dhaar and I Robbani, New Delhi. Eslevier, 2006 (Price not given).

The book has a refreshing approach in chapter organization and a writing style, which is thankfully different from existing textbooks on public health. The get up and the size of the book, its binding, cover page and lay out is better than other books. Summary tables are welcome. However, it fails to act as a source of information (which is quite crucial – as in our subject there is a lot of emphasis on updated data) or knowledge – it does not seem to fulfill the academic requirement of UGs. In fact, a sense of completeness and comprehensiveness is missing. Readers fails to get a sense of contentment, satisfaction or enrichment after going through the chapters.

In a world changing by minutes it seems that the manuscript of this book was submitted to the publishers in 2001-02. It was neither updated nor seems to has a mechanism to add the latest before going for print. It seems to be a stale offering. Perhaps, that is why MDG (Millenium Development Goals), 10th five year plan, Rural Health Mission etc. are also missing. Many other omissions are also there e.g. food adulteration, SARS, bird flu, leptospirosis, fail to find a mention in the book (All of these are important issues in public health). Epidemiology chapter is very weak. Maps are conspicuous by their absence. Even tables are less. Basic definition and formulae are lacking. In obesity chapter BMI 25-30 does not figure anywhere. Plague outbreak of 2002 (and recents reports of 2005 in Uttaranchal) are not mentioned. Only one line is there on 1994 outbreak. Chapter on Statistics is a bit better. But it lacks any random number tables or table values of c2 etc. History of public health also does not give a logical and comprehensive write up. Evolution of the discipline of community medicine is not clear.

Chapter on environment (entomology and sanitation) is good. It seems to have been given more attention (diagram etc.). This perhaps is due to DPH background of the authors. In view of the Genome Study the genetics chapter should have been given more emphasis. Cancer epidemiology sub chapter also does not give any table. References are given only at the end of each section. These are very few and quite old. Reference are not quoted in the text.

On the whole the book provides just an alternative to the existing ones, albeit not a better one.

Dr. Amarjeet Singh, Additional Professor,
Department of Community Medicine,
PGIMER, Chandigarh
E-mail: [email protected]

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