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Book Review

Indian Pediatrics 2000;37: 1410-1411

Ghai Essential Pediatrics

5th edition
: Ghai OP, Gupta Piyush, Paul VK. 
Interprint, New Delhi, 2000, pp 584, 
Price : Rs. 320/- (hard bound).

I still vividly remember my first encounter with this monograph. As final year undergraduate students, we were struggling to find a book that would meet all our requirements in an era where Indian authors of medical volumes were virtually non-existent. Almost simultaneously, Prof. O.P. Ghai had decided to bring out a small textbook of Pediatrics, primarily for undergraduates. We managed to get the proofs of several Chapters (since the book had not been produced) and found them to be tailor made for our use. Since that time, this book has firmly established itself as a standard text for undergraduates; the fifth edition of the monograph bears ample testimony for this statement.

There was a growing feeling amongst some quarters that the last two editions were not of the quality that had become synonymous with this text; some omissions were usually pointed out in support of this opinion. Has the fifth edition come up to the initial high quality? What is new about the fifth edition?

The name of the book has been changed from "Essential Pediatrics" to "Ghai Essential Pediatrics", a fitting tribute to the founder editor. Apart from this cosmetic alteration, the current edition represents a major revision and reorganization effort. This is largely due to the constitution of an "Editorial Board" from this edition onwards. Two new editors have been included; of these Dr. Piyush Gupta has been involved with the book since the 2nd edition and Dr. V.K. Paul since the 4th edition. The number of authors has more than doubled (from 14 in the last edition to 30 in the present). These changes have expanded the range of expertise needed to compile and present an authentic updated textbook encompassing the various pediatric subspecialties.

The total number of pages has gone up from 475 to 584, which have been arranged in 29 chapters. An attempt has been made to concise the enlarged text. Care has been taken to retain the original format and style.

Two new chapters have been added, namely, Pediatric Otolaryngology and Child Health Programs. While the first may be of immense use to practitioners, the latter highlights the shift of National strategy from CSSM to Reproductive and Child Health (RCH) Program. Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses has also been included and the whole integrated management protocol (as per WHO) has been reproduced in a separate section as appendix. The revised chapter on Growth and Development lists the complete NCHS reference values of weight and height for age from birth to 18 years at monthly intervals (this was a glaring deficiency of earlier Editions). The chapter on Nutrition has been revised to include the latest WHO management protocol of severe malnutrition. Due emphasis has been give to micronutrients and trace elements.

The section on Immunization and Vaccines is considerably improved with incorporation of available newer vaccines, their principles and recommended guidelines for their use. The national immunization schedule and suggested IAP modifications to it also find a place. The two chapters on Infections have been reorganized and are more systematic. Latest management protocols of dengue, malaria, tuberculosis, leprosy have been included. The section on Pediatric HIV is new and includes the recent CDC recommendations on classification, diagnosis and prevention. The chapters on fluid electrolytes, hematology and gastrointestinal system have been completely rewritten and updated.

The section on Newborn Care has been revamped with inputs from neonatologists, with major emphasis on must know areas of neonatal care such as resuscitation, temperature regulation, problems and care of low birth weight babies, hyperbilirubinemia, etc. Due emphasis has been given to breastfeeding and lactation management.

A number of flow charts have been added. Double color printing has been retained. The indexing is now more extensive and better organized.

A few lacunae need to be remedied in the future editions. The number of figures and photographs need to be increased for better understanding. Some illustrations should be colored; at present there are no color photographs. The font size of the text is small and reading for long periods does get strenuous.

The quality of production is good. The book is recommended for undergraduates. I am sure that the Postgraduates and teachers will also find this monograph useful as a core text.

H.P.S. Sachdev,
Professor and Incharge,
Division of Clinical Epidemiology,
Department of Pediatrics,
Maulana Azad Medical College,
New Delhi 110 002,


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