Book Review: PG NEXT 2017 Supplement

Kalam Books has recently published ‘PG NEXT 2017 Supplement’, a much-awaited release after their highly acclaimed book ‘PG NEXT’ published last year for the NEET-PG aspirants. This book fills the void caused by a lack of a proper reference guide for PG aspirants after the new pattern of exam was implemented. Released at an optimum time of approximately three months before the exam, this book literally justifies its name – it takes your PG preparation to the NEXT level just before the exams when you are running short of time.

The approach of this book is very different from the other so-called guide books currently available in the market. It does not aim to overburden the student with lengthy and voluminous text. Instead it focuses on the core area – the development of concepts – through short discussion of questions asked in recent exams. While one starts reading the book, it soon casts an addictive spell on the reader; the discussion of one question prompts you to go to the next question. All the explanations have been written by respective subject experts. The book is handy and can be carried anywhere – in the library, classroom or wards. The font size and the page quality are good, making it a treat for the eyes.

The book contains more than 1600 MCQs arranged in subject-wise manner covering all the subjects of undergraduate medical curricula. The questions are arranged in subject-wise manner so that students who want to check their preparation in a particular subject can do so easily. The MCQs have been chosen carefully based on the latest NEET / AIPGMEE pattern, so as to acquaint the readers with the type of questions likely to be asked in the forthcoming NEET-PG exam.

Detailed explanatory answers have been provided for each and every MCQ asked in the question section. References from the latest editions of the standard textbooks have been provided for in-depth learning. Numerous tables, flow-charts, diagrams and mnemonics have been incorporated at appropriate places making the process of learning easy for students. Emphasis has been given on grasping the basic concept behind the questions instead of rote learning.

A cardinal feature of this book is the inclusion of 100-plus image based questions similar to what candidates have faced in the actual examination. With the introduction of image based questions in NEET –PG and also in AIIMS examinations, the preparation strategy has underwent a sea change. The few guide books available in the market are unreliable and often fall short of the students expectations. This book fills the void of a reliable book containing the latest NEET/DNB pattern questions, as it has been prepared by a group of experts who are renowned in their respective fields and are associated with mentoring medical PG aspirants for a long time, whose feedback have been incorporated in this book. In short, this is the ultimate indispensable tool for NEET-PG, which takes your preparation to the next level. The publishers have taken care to keep the book available on online e-commerce platforms so that students from remote locations can buy it easily.

Click Here to Buy

PG aspirants seek exemption from Article 371 D: Andhra government

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After super-specialty courses, now post-graduate (PG) students are seeking exemption from Article 371 D to get admission in medical colleges of other States. In this regard, the State government has written a letter to Central Health Minister J P Nadda and other officials to make AP a part of the national pool quota.

Recently, candidates seeking admissions in super speciality courses DM and M.Ch approached the High court of Hyderabad contending that all open seats in institutions affiliated to NTR Health University, Vijayawada and Kaloji University of Health Sciences, Warangal have to be filled based upon the presidential order Article 371 D. This article states that officials are not entitled to conduct a common counselling at the National-level for the seats coming within the control of the Universities in Telangana State and Andhra Pradesh.

However, a majority of the people opposed it and even the High court passed an interim order declaring that the 15 per cent seats can be filled by anyone from the country based upon NEET rank.

With this order, nearly 67 candidates from AP have secured admissions in other States’ colleges. There are 1,323 seats for DM and 1,234 seats in M.ch across the country. In AP, only 49 DM seats and 47 Mch seats are available. If AP is included in the national pool, it will benefit the students from AP and Telangana region.

Just as super-specialty courses got an exemption from Article 371 D for the open category of seats (15 percent), medical aspirants are requesting the government to implement the same for PG courses like MD, MS etc. At present, the State has only 774 clinical PG seats in seven government medical colleges across the State and including all clinical, nonclinical and diploma courses, a total of 6,074 seats are available in the State.

Y Mayuri, a medical student preparing for PG NEET 2018 said, “Across the country, there are over 40,000 seats available for pursuing PG. Due to Article 371D, we are losing the opportunity to acquire the 15 per cent national quota which means a lot for us. We hope that from the coming year, an exemption is given for post-graduate courses too like those given to super specialty courses.”

Meanwhile, the department of Health and Medical education is also planning to join in the national pool quota where the candidates from the State will be eligible to take up admission in colleges of other states. Earlier, Minister Kamineni Srinivas Rao said, “We are planning to join in national pool quota, which in turn will benefit the State students as they can avail the opportunities in other States too. We have written a letter to Minister J P Nadda, who assured us that he will initiate it by the coming academic year. It needs to be approved by the President and also by the Parliament.”

US-based Prometric won’t conduct NEET-PG 2017

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The US-based company Prometric Testings that until now conducted the National Eligibility and Entrance Test Post Graduate (NEET-PG) has said it will not be conducting the winter exam in 2017.

 

The National Board of Examinations (NBE) and Prometric have mutually agreed to part ways, the company said in a statement on Friday.

 

The NBE will now look for a new partner to conduct the November-December examination for the NEET-PG.

 

Introduced in December 2012, NEET-PG is an eligibility-cum-ranking examination prescribed as the single entrance examination to various MD/MS and PG Diploma Courses as per Section (10) of Indian Medical Council Act 1956.

 

As the testing partner, Prometric administered more than 400,000 NEET-PG exams to students over the last six years. However, in July the testing company admitted to Delhi Police that their software “can be breached”.

 

The November-December exam would have been the last administration in its partnership. However, following students demand for single-day testing the contract ended, it said.

 

“We are extremely disappointed to not be administering the winter NEET-PG administration under the circumstances,” said Soumitra Roy, Managing Director, Prometric India.

 

“We will continue to support NBE in a smooth transition of its programme in the best interests of students and test takers,” the company added.

 

The Delhi High Court on August 21 sought reply from the Centre and the police on a plea seeking court-monitored CBI/SIT probe into the alleged illegalities in the NEET 2016, conducted by Prometric.

 

The company said it has provided the authorities access to their key technology and operations experts. “We proactively continue to support the authorities in their investigation,” it said.

 

NBE Removes Executive Director Bipin Batra Over Violation Of Rules

The National Board of Examinations (NBE), regulatory body for postgraduate medical education, has removed its executive director Bipin Batra for allegedly occupying the post in violation of rules. The move comes in the wake of allegations of irregularities, lack of transparency and malfunctioning of the NBE administration, with the latest being charges of malpractices in the conduct of the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET).

The autonomous body under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, in a meeting here yesterday, also ordered an inquiry into various charges of irregularities against Batra.

“Bipin Batra shall cease to discharge the functions of executive director, NBE, with immediate effect,” said a draft resolution adopted by the board.

It also said Rashmikant Dave, vice president, NBE has been appointed honorary executive director till a regular appointment is made to the post in compliance with rules.

NBE president Abhijat Sheth, when contacted by PTI, confirmed the developments.

Bipin Batra had been officiating as the executive director of the board without an approval by the central government, the resolution said, adding that “it is apparent that there is no regularly appointed executive director, NBE in place”.

The present board was nominated on June 20, 2016, and ever since many allegations have plagued the body.

 

The NBE president, on behalf of the board, has apprised the central government and the administration on multiple occasions regarding the various alleged misdeeds that have come to light.

“As such, for the purposes of conducting an expeditious and independent enquiry into all facts and allegations that have come to light, it is resolved to suspend Bipin Batra from all posts being held by him in NBE in any capacity whatsoever until further orders,” the resolution said.

The board has also resolved to appoint Kirtiman Singh as the standing counsel for NBE as an interim arrangement, thus ceasing services of all other advocates/standing counsels who currently represent it.

The National Board of Examinations was established in 1975 with the objective of improving the quality of medical education and establishing standards of post graduate examinations in modern medicine on an all-India basis.

Last year, the governing body of the NBE was reconstituted by the government and asked to examine the problems restricting the expansion of postgraduate medical education in the country.

Pediatrics JR ends life due to stress

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A 26-year-old resident doctor with the VS Hospital was found dead from her hostel room on Monday morning. Dr Meghavi Patel, 26, an MD (paediatrics) student, had injected self with a compound, suspected to be anaesthetic agent. Police said that a note found from her pin-board mentioned stress related to work and study along with her ailment as reason for her extreme step.

According to Ellisbridge police, the sweeper at the residential hostel for PG students of NHL Medical College had approached Meghavi’s room as per routine at 9.30am on Monday. When she did not respond after repeated banging, the nearby residents were called on the spot and the door was forced open when Meghavi was found on her bed unconscious. She was taken to the VS Hospital where she was declared dead.

“Meghavi had done her MBBS from the same institution. Daughter of a senior government official, she had got married to Dr Vishal Patel, an MD (radiologist) currently working in Surendranagar, eight months ago. They had got engaged three years ago. Her father-in-law is a paediatrician having his hospital in Asarva. Her colleagues said that she was on duty in the hospital till 10pm on Sunday,” said an Ellisbridge police official.

Investigators said that a note from her pin-board in her room was found in which she had written that no one is responsible for her death. She wrote that she was ending life due to stress and ailment. K M Chavda, in-charge ACP, M Division, said that Meghavi was suffering from spinal TB and her treatment was going on.

Dr Sandeep Malhan, superintendent of the VS Hospital, added that she had cited stress as a reason as the masters students have to work as residential doctors in addition to appearing for an examination every week.

Investigators said that Meghavi had injected self on her wrist and leg with a compound. Chavda said that the postmortem examination is over but they are yet to ascertain the content which she injected. Police could not question her relatives on Monday but they said that they would ask about whether she gave any sign of distress in recent past.

KNRUHS asks medical students to cough up Rs 3 lakh bond amount

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To deter students from leaving a medical or dental college midway , the Kaloji Narayana Rao University of Health Sciences(KNRUHS), which is conducting counselling on behalf of Telangana, is now demanding a bond of `3 lakh from students as an assurance that they will complete the course. According to officials, every year, 50% of the dental seats and, on an average, about 60 medical seats are blocked by students but later converted into management quota as they drop out. Meanwhile, in government colleges, these seats remain vacant as there is no provision of converting convenor quota seats into seats of other categories.

“We have observed that students are allotted seats and then they drop out. This is depriving other meritorious students of seats. Last year, out of 300 seats in BDS (Bachelor of Dental Surgery) courses in the state, nearly 180 students did not join college even after the classes started,” said B Karunakar Reddy , vice-chancellor, KNRUHS, adding that 16 of the 100 dental seats at the Govern ment Dental College too remained vacant last year due to the same reason.

Reddy further added that they faced the same problem while filling up post-graduate medical seats and cited it as the main reason for the bond amount being increased from the existing `1lakh to `3 lakh. “After the last phase of counselling, about 30 PG students paid `5 lakh each and left the course mid-way . So now, those deciding to opt out of the medical or dental degree course after securing an admission, will have to personally come and explain to the varsity their reasons for not continuing with the course. Only if the varsity is satisfied with the reason, can the students opt out,” Reddy said.

A varsity source, on condition of anonymity , also highlighted how a few private colleges pick candidates that they know have already secured seats in other states and make them give up these seats a day or two before the deadline so that they can convert them into management quota and make more money.

Colleges, on the other hand, said that increasing the bond amount will not make any difference as the candidates, who are ready to pay `1lakh, will not think twice about paying three times more.

“I don’t see how this is going to make any difference. The varsity is just taking money from students and doing business. Moreover, if someone feels that the managements of medical and dental colleges are using students to block seats, this bond amount will not be enough to prevent such practices as it is much less than what these colleges can rake in by converting these seats into other categories,” said Lakshmi Narasimha Rao, president, Telangana Private Medical College Association.

Our software can be breached: Prometric

The US-based company that conducted the National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET) — held to admit students into postgraduate medical courses in December, 2016 — has admitted that their software “can be breached”. The company, Prometric, told this to the Delhi Police via teleconference, as part of the investigations into alleged hacking of the examination software, which allowed students to cheat.

The 20-page chargesheet, prepared by the central range of the Crime Branch, also states that the accused planned the hacking way in advance — even telling aspirants which examination centre to pick so they could cheat. As first reported by The Indian Express, the Delhi Police had arrested four people in connection with the case, and established that the servers used to conduct the examination were hacked. The chargesheet also states that supervisors of two examination centres in Chandigarh and Greater Noida, where the exam was held, helped some students cheat.

In the course of their investigations, police found that the exam-controlling body, the National Board of Examination (NBE), had given the contract to conduct NEET PG (2017) to M/S Prometric Testings Pvt Ltd. “They had sub-contracted with CMS IT Services Pvt Ltd to hire engineers, site supervisors and other staff to prepare exam labs and for actually conducting the NEET (PG) examinations at various exam centres from December 5 to December 13. Later, CMS IT Services Pvt Ltd had further tied up with M/S Apex Services to provide manpower and technical staff at the examination centres,” police stated in their chargesheet.

Police said the “agents and sub-agents” were active through the year in search of candidates ready to give money for a good rank. “After finding such candidates, the sub-agents informed senior agents, who had direct links either with the candidates or their parents. These agents were in constant touch with site supervisors, engineers and officials, who got posted at examination centres. They only advised the candidates or their parents to choose a particular examination centre,” a senior officer said.

In its chargesheet, police mentioned that M/S Prometric Testings Pvt Ltd failed to identify the alleged software — Ammyy Admin, which had been used by the accused to hack the exam. “The alleged persons, including site-supervisors, engineers and senior officials, managed to break open the security system of Prometric and, unlike other students, their selected candidates got internet access on their exam computers, which helped them to connect remotely with some other computer outside the examination hall,” police said.

Police found that a site-supervisor of the Chandigarh centre used the software to put students in touch with agents outside, who would then solve the papers and pass them to the students.

Tampered computers gave NEET-PG applicants a lifeline

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The Crime Branch of the Delhi Police has filed a charge sheet in the court of Metropolitan Magistrate Satish Kumar Arora here against officials of Prometric Testing Pvt Ltd, hired by the National Board of Examinations (NBE), to conduct the National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test (NEET) in November 2016 for admissions to post graduate medical courses.

Nearly one lakh students appeared for the PG entrance examination, competing for 35,117 post graduate seats across the country.

Remote access given

According to the charge sheet, accessed by The Hindu, computers at the examination centres managed by Prometric were compromised. In some cases, select computers were installed with a remote, screen sharing software, Ammy, allowing ‘solvers’ outside to select the correct answers for the students.

In other instances, site supervisors, engineers and officials deployed by Promteric tampered with the security system and ensured that select candidates got access to the Internet by connecting remotely to another computer outside the examination hall, the police said.

The Crime Branch is investigating officials of Prometric and the National Board of Examinations (NBE). The charge sheet states that the involvement of “officials at the National Board of Examinations and Promterics” cannot be ruled out.

Sources in the Crime Branch said a list of 500 students has been prepared in a supplementary charge sheet.

Investigations revealed that the NBE contracted Prometric, which then sub-contracted the conducting of the tests to yet another company, CMS IT Services Pvt Ltd for engineering and support staff. CMS IT Services further contracted out the hiring of local vendors for staff at various examination centres.

“In this way, the selection of suitable staff for the exam seems to be compromised and the security and sincerity of the exam was breached,” the charge sheet says.

According to the charge sheet, the aspirants paid between ₹2.5 to 3 lakh to access the Internet during the exam. In one centre in Chandigarh, the site supervisor, one Ankur Mishra (named in the charge sheet) and hired by CMS IT Services, left slips with answers for select candidates.

The NBE is also under investigation for hiring Promteric, an American company, without inviting tenders from other companies. The Crime Branch says Prometric’s staff reformatted the computers and destroyed evidence after the exam.

Echoes of Vyapam

Dr Anand Rai, whistle blower in the Madhya Pradesh medical entrance examination, better known as the VYAPAM scam, and a complainant in the present case said, “The NBE handed over the contract to Promteric without inviting tenders. Promteric has admitted to formatting evidence on the computers [after the NEET], which should have been maintained for a minimum of five years. This is a gross violation of the Indian Evidence Act.”

Soumitra Roy, Country Manager, Prometric India said the company was “not aware of any such development” adding, “We proactively continue to support the authorities in their investigation.”

Heal the nation

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It’s welcome that government think tank Niti Aayog, along with the health ministry and World Bank, has come up with a model of public private partnership to boost India’s abysmal record of healthcare delivery. Public health and hospitals in India come under the domain of state governments and the model is in the form of a template which can be used to augment treatment facilities of non-communicable disease in smaller cities. This is a useful channel to expand the provision of healthcare facilities for resource strapped governments and needs to be scaled up radically across the board, as public healthcare delivery managed solely by the public sector has had a poor record in which Indians, in general, have little faith.

To be sure, states have already experimented with PPP in healthcare delivery in a limited way. Odisha announced this year that it had picked a private healthcare provider to operate and manage a cardiac care hospital in Jharsuguda, while Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh have devised elaborate insurance schemes which make use of private healthcare facilities for surgical procedures. But there is much scope for expansion as well as a process of trial and error to see what works.

Debate in India too often gets bogged down in ideological debates on public versus private healthcare. But policy needs to be pragmatic and facilitate what works: if the capacities of government and private sector can be brought together in a synergistic way to get healthcare services to cover the entire population, there should be no objection. However, based on India’s experience so far, it is important to get the design of PPP right. In the Niti Aayog proposal, there is a benchmark for pricing. This needs to be complemented with proper oversight that will prevent unnecessary medical interventions as well as corruption.

Last but not the least, India has an abysmal doctor-patient ratio and a lot needs to be done to enhance the supply of doctors. Regulation of medical colleges emphasises more on curbs in supply than on ensuring that doctors with a licence to practice are of a minimum quality. Such irrational restrictions need to go, and Niti Aayog had some earlier suggestions to this effect which must be implemented as well. Unless India produces more doctors, whether for the public or private sector, healthcare delivery will not improve.

How India’s family planning programme places well-being and unlocking the potential of women at its centre

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Guest article by Shri JP Nadda, Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Govt. of India

The story of India in the 21st century has been one of extraordinary growth and innovation. We have revolutionised the data and information industry, and we produce medicine cheaper than anywhere in the world. We eliminated polio under incredibly challenging circumstances. But India has not even come close to reaching her full potential, because we have only leveraged half of our resources into that effort. We’ve yet to unlock much of the potential of the other half: India’s women.

Only when India’s women are on an equal footing with India’s men will we be the nation we want to become. The government has already taken significant steps to provide health and development to women.

In India, though maternal and infant mortality have dropped precipitously in recent years, 200 women still die every day in child birth. Part of the problem is that not all pregnant women have easy access to the best ante-natal care. The Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan, which was launched late last year, guarantees every woman in her second or third trimester free ante-natal care by private doctors at designated hospitals all over the country on the 9th of every month.

More than 50 lakh women have been given quality ante-natal checkups under this scheme. More than 56 lakh pregnant women have been immunised under Mission Indradhanush and the MAA campaign, through awareness and counselling, continues to promote better health and nutrition to mothers and children at community level.

Family planning is one of the most critical and long standing health programmes in India. Here too India has made impressive progress, with the fertility rate dropping from 2.7 to 2.1 over the last decade. But even today 31 million married women are not using any contraception at all; about two thirds of the rest are using sterilisation, which is effective but doesn’t help women delay their first pregnancy or space their later children at healthy intervals.

As a result, too many women are either having more children than they want, having children sooner than they want, or not leaving enough time between children for their bodies to recover fully from pregnancy. Realising this massive gap, the government has introduced three new contraceptive methods into the health system, including injectables and a once-a-week pill, so that more and more women will be able to plan their families.

Among those women who do get pregnant, almost half are between the ages of 15 and 25, so we’re also starting an intense awareness campaign aimed at this age group to make sure that they know the contraceptive options and feel empowered to exercise them. A complementary campaign will target men, since contraception isn’t always a choice a woman can make on her own. The better men understand family planning, the more supportive they’re likely to be when it comes to planning their families together with their wives.

The need for better contraception and ante-natal care is not spread evenly around the country. A quarter of India’s mothers who live in the poorest areas are twice as likely to see their babies die than the rest. That is why we launched Mission Parivar Vikas on World Population Day on Tuesday, doubling down our efforts in 145 districts in 7 states – districts responsible for half of the country’s infant deaths – for intensive improvement in family planning and ante-natal care services.

As part of this Mission we want to ensure that supplies are available at all facilities at all times for which we are developing a robust Family Planning Logistics Management Information System. This is a web and mobile based decision-making tool to monitor and manage the flow of contraceptive supplies – to reduce inventory fluctuations – and improve the programme’s effectiveness at all public health facilities.

We estimate that in 2017 nearly 137 million women in India are using modern method of contraception. As a result of this usage, 39 million unintended pregnancies will be prevented; nearly 12 million unsafe abortions, 16 million total births and 43,000 maternal deaths will be averted. We firmly believe that family planning is critical for our nation’s economic development, and is a big first step towards growth, equality and sustainable development that opens the door to opportunity and prosperity for women and families.