Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Changing face of Medical Education in India

The Changing face of Medical Education in India

The Union Health Minister, Gulam Nabi Azad has announced a series of
measures to improve rural health care facilities. Shortage of doctors
willing to work in rural areas and shortage of hospitals are two main
problems affecting the proper implementation of National Rural Health
Mission. Most Primary Health Centers (PHC)s are under staffed. In
order to address this serious lacuna several measures have been
initiated by the government.

1. Private Medical Colleges and Hospitals are being encouraged. Rules
for setting up Medical colleges have been amended under MCI.
Government has sanctioned opening of 19 Institutions on par with AIMS
and 250 Nursing Colleges. The latter move will provide an output of
20000 nurses in forthcoming years. Of the 300 medical colleges in the
country, 150 colleges are in the private sector, with 80-85 per cent
of the colleges located in south India, mainly in Karnataka, Andhra
Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. To offset this imbalance
of heavy growth in southern and western side, medical colleges in
hilly regions will be given additional incentives. Now it would be
enough to have 20 acres of land instead of 25 cares to start a medical
college in hilly areas.
2. A new Cadre of doctors, especially to serve only in rural areas has
been proposed. There will be a "four-year-first-level" degree in
medicine. Three years of Education and one year of Internship is
planned. Syllabus has been framed and State governments have to take
action. This cadre will be lower in status than regular MBBS and those
who qualify will have to stick to rural areas only.
3. To encourage MBBS doctors to work in rural areas, some additional
grace marks will be given in the National (Medical) Entrance
Examination for PG courses in Medicine. Grace marks vary from 10% to
30% depending upon the number of years (1 to 3) the doctor serves in
rural areas. If a doctor fails to get a seat in PG diploma even with
this grace marks, then he can be considered for admission under 50%
reservation of seats for those who have rural practicing experience.

While I welcome above measures, the last one makes me a little
skeptical. Does this mean that low quality doctors are OK for rural
masses? For instance, let us assume that a doctor is asked in the
entrance examination the following question:
Where is kidney located?
a) In the head
b) In the feet
c) In the abdomen
d) Near the heart
If he answers anything other than "C" then he is doubly at fault – Not
knowing where kidneys are located and not knowing various parts of
abdomen. By giving grace marks and pushing him up to do PG in medicine
is atrocious to think of. Quality should not be sacrificed at any
cost. Opening more colleges and creating more seats is fine.

(Published by PVM in his blog and Merinews as well)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

World U3A Conference - Feb 8th to 10th - Chitrakoot

The University of the Third Age (U3A) World Conference, Chitrakoot,
MP, India - February 2010

First ever International Conference to be held in India on Third Age
Learning will be conducted during 8th to 10th February 2010 in
Chitrakoot University, Madhya Pradesh, India. All those connected with
Lifelong Learning are welcome.

PR Log (Press Release) – Dec 22, 2009 – The University of the Third
Age (U3A) announces a Worldwide U3A Conference for a truly worldwide
movement. Dates: 8th 9th and 10th of February 2010
Venue: Chitrakoot University, Madhya Pradesh, India

The University of the Third Age is a fast-growing movement and, with
the exception of one in China, all previous 'World Congresses' have
been held in Europe and have been Europe-centric. All that is now
changing; with U3A Councils now active in Singapore, India, Nepal,
Bangladesh, China, it is becoming clear that Asia and the Pacific rim
countries (which include Australia and New Zealand) will become
important new centers for our U3A movement.

Our theme, Lifelong Learning and Aging with Dignity, will explore our
mission with a new sense of purpose, and mobilize elderly as a
resource to strengthen communities and families and to enhance social

The venue - Chitrakoot University

Concerted efforts of the people have propelled India into one of the
technologically advanced nations. However, large parts of rural India
still struggle for survival due to poor infra-structure for education
and training for skills. Most of the teaching and research institutes
are located in urban areas.

An innovative and high-quality Rural University was therefore
conceived and established at Chitrakoot, located on the bank of the
Holy River Mandakini, away from noisy city life amongst a serene and
beautiful landscape.

Chitrakoot University and Indian Association of Universities of Third
Age, sponsors, welcome you. Full details are available on our website:

Last light of the candle - publishers book review

Free Medical Advice over Phone - 104

Free Medical Advice over Phone

HMRI - Health and Management Research Institute - is a Public /
Private partnership program. About 95% is funded by AP State govt.
Rest is raised by HMRI through donations or grants. It is a not for
profit organization. A host of services on health medical related
areas are offered over the phone. To avail yourself of this facility,
just ring up 104 from anywhere in AP.

These are the four basic services:

1. Medical Advice. Paramedics attend to medical queries and try to
offer solutions. They cater to first level queries. They use computer
assisted expert system like structured questionnaires requiring
unambiguous simple answers like yes or no. The Call center is equipped
with persons knowing Hindi, Telugu or English. The query is passed
over to a qualified medical doctor when the paramedic decides to do
so. Advice as what to do and what not to do is given. If the dialog
results in prescribing certain medicines a qualified doctor sends the
prescription as an SMS to the caller. If the caller does not have a
mobile he may go to a medical shop and the prescription is sent to the
pharmacist via SMS. Every user is given a UserID which can be used to
trace his case quickly on subsequent calls.

2. Counseling. Problems in matrimonial, HIV, examinations, Depression
etc are listened to and suitable advice offered over phone. Patients
are advised to seek expert opinion when needed.

3. Information: One can find out details of pharmacies, diagnostic
centers, doctors, hospitals etc from 104. The locality of the caller
is kept in mind while answering. The information is kept reasonably

4. Service facilitation. If person finds any lacunae or problems in
getting services from government run PHCs, a complaint may be made to
104. They will try to address the issue by taking it up with
appropriate authorities.

Apart from the above phone based services, HMRI has a fleet of 470
Mobile Medical Units. These are fully equipped with doctor,
paramedics, medicines and certain basic equipments. The mobile van
calls of villagers on a fixed day in a week. The objective is to cover
all residents beyond three km of any PHC. The service is aimed at
rural poor. Even medicines and vitamins are distributed. Complete
medical history of visitors is maintained. The primary target is women
and children. In emergencies the call is diverted to 108. Screening
for chronic diseases is routinely done.

104 is an important free service. Senior Citizens can reduce running
to the doctor for routine health problems. Help is reliable and fast.
It is just a phone call away. You can rely upon it as a first level
consultant. I have used it a number of times and so I can recommend it
to you with confidence.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

sEnior Citizens Turn Creative

Senior Citizens Turn Creative

Recently I posted a Poetic Verse to a group meant for senior citizens. There are 530 members, all retired and Net savvy. I was a little puzzled how to title my poem. Therefore I cleverly left the titling task to readers themselves. Here is the poem:

Can you title this?

After routine evening shopping
I was returning home by walk.
At a street corner,
right in the middle of the road
was a man who had stopped his scooter
to talk to someone on the cell phone.
I was about to chide him for his thoughtless action.
I heard him say to someone:
"I have bought flowers and plantains
but could not get beetle leaves"
That reminded me that I had forgotten to buy flowers
and went back to buy the some flowers.
Did he stop there
-Like a Nandi in the middle of the road-
-Attracting all my attention -
Just to remind me, I wonder?!
Anyway, he escaped my wrath

I received a flood of replies, each excelling the other. Responses are tabulated below:

Jayanti Menon Every cloud has a silver lining!
Sivaram Thought he was a Nut but turned out to be WALNUT
Prema Sivaram Thoughtless act but a useful reminder
Surendra TS Middle-of-the-road breach?
Surendra, TS The Flowery breach
Surendra, TS Opportunity in violation
Surendra, TS The driver and the driven
Dr T Thomas Blow hot; blow cold!
DVR Vithal No wrath, only love.
Hari lakhera Wireless
Madhusudhan Rao All is well that ends well
Pillai, P Silver lining on a dark cloud
Murthy, Duvuri Headless Wonder
Dandapani Whatever happens is a blessings in disguise
M Ruparelia Mysterious Ways in which Nature/God helps you in time!

If you read the verse and the title you will find the link. The relationship between the title and the poem is sometimes direct but mostly subtle. I liked Hari Lakhera’s choice of the title as best. What is your choice? Don’t you agree that older persons are becoming smart and creative?


Friday, December 18, 2009

Reemployment opportunities for senior citizens

Reemployment opportunities for senior citizens

This second career blog is supported by Andhra Pradesh Senior Citizens
Confederation (APSCCON). Here, content aggregation of all jobs that
are meant for VRS, retired, pensioners or otherwise old is done.
Weekly listings are offered.
CJ: Vyasamoorthy

Fri, Dec 18, 2009 10:45:59 IST

MANY SENIOR citizens who have retired recently, channelise their
energy and enthusiasm to continue working and earning money. They
might have retired as demanded by rules of the employers or because of
VRS, boredom in the workplace and other considerations.

They may seek employment that is light and not very taxing but
something that would keep them occupied. Salary may not be very
important. They may not be in a position to demand same salary when
they retired. All such persons look for sources that will lead them to
suitable vacancies. Peering into newspaper advertisement columns is
very painful – small print, absence of categorisation, limited
coverage, minimum information about vacancies and the like, makes this

Those who are net savvy may go to job sites like Naukri, jobsahead,
Monster India, Clickjobs, Careerjet and locate vacancies. This
approach requires the job seeker to register himself in each of the
job sites, upload his resume and visit these sites regularly. How nice
it would be if someone collects all such advertisements and makes it
available in a single place? Well, APSCCON Second Career Blog does
this precisely.

This second career blog is supported by Andhra Pradesh Senior Citizens
Confederation (APSCCON). Here, content aggregation of all jobs that
are meant for VRS, retired, pensioners or otherwise old is done.
Weekly listings are offered. The job seeker is led to full
advertisement and applying for jobs is made simple. A wide variety of
sources, including private communications received by the blogger,
sites like Anubhuti are covered.

Unfortunately there is no duplicate checking. Same job may be shown
(listed) from many sources. Apart from this drawback, one has to visit
the site at least once a week in order not to miss anything vital.
Upon specific request the blog has the facility of sending automatic
email updates of the blog listings.

Harmony India, Dignity Foundation, Heritage Second career Club are
other places where one might seek help for re-employment. Generally
there are plenty of sales, marketing, finance, Insurance and accounts
jobs. Voluntary (NGO) sector is yet to wake up to exploiting elders.
BPOs offer good opportunities.



Thursday, December 17, 2009

Demand for dedicated ministry for old persons

Demand for dedicated ministry for old persons
TNN 7 December 2009, 03:56am IST

KOLKATA: Senior citizens present at the annual convention of Indian
Association of Retired Persons (IARP) argued that India, where more
than 100 million people who are over 60 year old, should have a
separate and dedicated union ministry for them.

The programmes was held at Madhusudan Mancha on Sunday. More than
4,000 IARP members were present. Industrialist Harshabardhan Neotia
was the chief guest.

"The Union government has ignored our pleas for the last five years.
Now, National Association for Senior Citizens of India, the appellate
organization of senior citizen groups, has taken up this matter with
the government," said IARP's founder president Sishir Dutta, a

Countries like Japan, Mauritius and Australia have a separate ministry
for senior citizens. In India, however, the National Council of Older
Persons (NCOP) under the ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment
looks after the welfare of senior citizens. "NCOP officials hardly do
their work effectively and hence our demand," alleged IARP secretary
Sundaresa Swaminathan.

IARP is also demanding an Universal Health Insurance and an Universal
Pension Scheme. "In the UK, coach rides are free from 11 am to 3.30 pm
for senior citizens. It's a recognition of the contribution of senior
citizens to society. Here, though, we had to ask everything from the
government," Dutta said.

TOI Kolkata 7th December 09

Get higher returns and life-long income too (Reverse Mortgage)

Like mystery novels, the end is chilling! -- PVM

Get higher returns and life-long income too

Central Bank of India and Star Union Daiichi Life Insurance have
launched a life-long reverse mortgage annuity called CENT Swabhiman
Plus. Through this product, a senior citizen can earn a
monthly/quarterly /half yearly or annual income as mutually agreed by
the borrower and the bank against his/her home. The annuity continues
till the individual survives.

This is a tweaked version of the earlier reverse mortgage scheme,
under which the annuity payment would stop in 20 years although the
individual could reside in the house till death.

But after receiving feedback about insufficiency of a 20-year cap on
annuity payments, NHB had asked banks and insurance companies to
design a product to provide a life-time annuity to senior citizens.

This product also promises a higher return. Insurers have computed the
annuity using mortality charts whereas banks discounted the property
value at a specific rate to calculate the payouts. Also, the interest
rate on the revised reverse mortgage product offered by the Central
bank of India is 9.5%, (subject to reset at the end of two years from
the first drawdown) against 12.5% charged on a regular reverse
mortgage product, resulting in higher payouts.

There are two variants within this product. Under the first option,
the annuitant receives a life annuity at a constant rate till he
survives. In the other, the annuitant will receive annuity for life
with return of purchase price on his death. This product is available
for senior citizens above 60 years of age.

In case of co-borrowers, at least one of the borrowers should be above
60 and the other should be above 55 years. Also, the owned property
should be free from any encumbrances. The bank will lend up to 60-75 %
of the value of property.
One of the main advantages of the scheme is it provides a lifetime
income stream, which could be used for their financial needs, be it
house renovation, medical and other personal purposes.

The borrower can also opt for 25% of the loan amount (maximum amount
capped at Rs 15 lakh), which can come in handy in case of

However, the bank doesn't encourage the borrowers to use this money
for trading and speculative purposes. The ground has been just set by
the state-owned bank for reverse mortgage annuity products in India.

But even as all payments under reverse mortgage loan are exempt from
Income Tax under Section 10(43) of the Income-Tax Act, 1961, the
monthly or periodic annuity payments are defined as 'salaries'.

Hence, it is taxable in the hands of the senior citizens under Section
17 of the I-T Act. Any amount received as a loan either in lumpsum or
instalments under such scheme, is also not regarded as income and
hence, not liable to income tax.

Also, the bank reserves the right to foreclosure of the annuity if the
borrower has not stayed in the property for a continuous period of one
year. This could be an issue for a senior citizen if s/he has to move
in with his/her son/daughter because of an ailing health or any other

Why go for it:

It provides an income stream to the senior citizen till she/he is alive.

What is the catch:

The annuities are taxable in the hands of senior citizens. Also, the
bank reserves the right for foreclosure of the annuity if the borrower
has not stayed in the property for a continuous period of one year.
Source: ET 14th Dec 09

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Can you title this?

After routine evening shopping
I was returning home by walk.
At a street corner,
right in the middle of the road
was a man who had stopped his scooter
to talk to someone on the cellphone.
I was about to chide him for his thoughtless action.
I heard him say to someone:
"I have bought flowers and plantains
but could not get beetle leaves"
That reminded me that I had forgotten to buy flowers
and went back to buy the some flowers.
Did he stop there
-like a Nandi in the middle of the road-
-attracting all my attention -
just to remind me, I wonder?!
Anyway, he escaped my wrath.

Dr P Vyasamoorthy,
30 Gruhalakshmi Colony Secunderabad 500015 Ph 040-27846631 / 9490804278

Monday, December 7, 2009

Mayacare Errand Services for the Elderly - Pune

Mayacare Services for the Elderly


Mayacare is a Pune based organization set up to provide Out door Services for Senior citizens.  In other words they offer errand services to the elderly who are too weak to carry out their daily routines. This could be fetching medicines, depositing or withdrawing cash from banks, buying groceries, accompanying to hospital or similar things.


A complete range of services and membership charges are listed in the website All services are paid services. The services are rendered by employing educated women who need some financial support. Thereby Maya care helps senior citizens and women in need of part time employment as well. Services are detailed below:



  • Cheque deposit
  • Cash withdrawal
  • Renewal of FDR
  • Money transfer from one account to another


  • Shopping for vegetables/fruits/grocery/pooja items/gifts/ any other item (up to 5 items at a time)
  • Buying of tickets for movie/play
  • Booking train/bus tickets


  • Getting printouts of pictures from the web
  • Getting printouts of e-mails
  • Scanning and e-mailing documents
  • Downloading video from the web and getting a CD


  • Delivery of medicines
  • Delivery of medical reports
  • Delivery of surgical aide equipment for post-operative care


  • Payment of electricity/telephone  bills
  • Payment of house tax


Apart from these regular errand services, their staff members also sit with seniors in hospitals; accompany them for a walk or buying goods and services or to attend to social functions. Reading out books at home is also included. They have tied up with a local library and offer delivery of books for reading at home.


The services are aimed at relatively richer class of senior citizens who can afford some luxury either by themselves or the payments being taken care of by their NRI wards.


Mayacare has an illustrious group of elites like Ms Kiran Bedi, MG Joshi and Ms Vishaka Mulaye on its board of advisors.


Gmail - [karmayog] Digest Number 4622 -

Gmail - [karmayog] Digest Number 4622 - "Senior Citizens - Avbl: part-time income opportunities for women
Posted by: ''
Sat Dec 5, 2009 7:30 am (PST)

Subject: Avbl: part-time income opportunities for women

Main Point: Maya CARE ( offers services to senior
citizens provided by a team of women service associates. Services
include accompanying senior citizens to doctors, , bank work, reading,

Category of Topic: Senior Citizens

Message: Maya CARE offers payment to volunteers on a transaction
basis. If your organization interacts with women or families of women
who would like to offer their services, please call 9594073475 or
9552510411. Women can take up Maya CARE assignments even as they
continue with household duties, education or an existing job. Details on

Name: Manjiri Gokhale Joshi

Organisation: Maya CARE services for senior citizens

Location: Mumbai, Pune

Email 1:"

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Senior Health care Solution: Funny but OK in the USA

(I thought that some occasional fun in this blog is OK!!)

Senior Health Care Solution

So you're a senior citizen and the government says no health care for
you, what do you do?

Our plan gives anyone 65 years or older a gun and 4 bullets. Your are
allowed to shoot 2 senators and 2 representatives. Of Course, this
means you will be sent to prison where you will get 3 meals a day, a
roof over your head, and all the health care you need! New teeth, no
problem. Need glasses, great. New hip, knees, kidney, lungs, heart?
All covered.

And who will be paying for all of this? The same government that just
told you that you are too old for health care. Plus, because you are
a prisoner, you don't have to pay any income taxes anymore.


(sent by Madhusudhan Rao to sss-global as mail)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Agency starts campaign against abuse of elders (Mumbai)

Agency starts campaign against abuse of elders
Surekha S / DNA
Tuesday, December 1, 2009 0:05 IST

Mumbai: "Elders are neglected and ill-treated in almost all houses
today," said Vitthal Dalvi, a 73-year-old resident of BDD Chawl,
Parel. "For elders who do not have a pension and are completely
dependent on their children, the difficulties are even more."

According to Alpa Desai, coordinator, the Family Welfare Agency, an
NGO, almost 40% of senior citizens are abused in some way or the other
-- financial, emotional or physical -- but only one in six cases comes
to light. Hence the need was felt to launch a campaign against elder

The city-based agency working with senior citizens and their rights
launched a campaign on November 29. Flagged off at the Nehru Centre,
the campaign saw the presence of VN Deshmukh, retired additional
director general of police, producer/director Kalpana Lajmi and Dr
Parasuraman, director, Tiss. While Deshmukh spoke about the role of
the police in safety of senior citizens, Lajmi stressed about the role
of the media in raising awareness.

There was a campaign poster exhibition at the Warli Hall. In the
coming few weeks, there will be street plays, interactive focus group
discussions and workshops as part of the campaign. "We plan to hold
discussions in different areas of Mumbai and with senior citizens.
Many of them don't talk about it out of fear," said Desai.

Jayashree Patil (name changed) said that she had a very difficult time
with her daughter-in-law. "She would talk roughly to me all the time
and I had to do all my work by myself, including cooking. It was
getting very difficult for me. But after I got to know about FWA, I
gained some confidence.

"The most important thing was knowing that there is someone to support
me. The social workers came to my house and spoke to my
daughter-in-law as well. She is a little more subtle since then. It is
very important for elders to know that such a support system exists."

According to Laxmi Anjarlekar, the problems start after the kids get
married and start families of their own. "They then feel they have
their kids to look after and we amount to unnecessary expenditure,"
said Anjarlekar. "Such campaigns will help as elders will know whom to
approach. No parents want to go to the cops or the court against their
own children. Such organisations provide that support and necessary
counselling as well."


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

I lost my wife to Pancreatic Cancer on 30th November 2009

I lost my wife to Pancreatic Cancer on 30th November 2009

I have not written so far anything personal in this blog. Now there is a pressing need to do. This note might give me the catharsis I am hoping for - through you, readers, who are my true friends. A very large number of you - nearly 100 - have sent messages of condolences sharing our grief. I also want to THANK everyone for their kindness and warmth. To all you I desire to say something about my loss.

Hardly eighty days ago, (September 12th to be precise) my wife was diagnosed as suffering from Pancreatic Cancer. And since last night she is simply no more. Cremated and gone. The shock
Is unimaginable and the grief is immeasurable. This can’t be seen on my face, though.

We were planning to celebrate her sixtieth birthday on 25th September 2009 on the occasion of her becoming a senior citizen! She had postponed visiting her daughter’s house in Delhi several times, ever since she moved out of Hyderabad some 18 months ago. This wish was never fulfilled. She underwent three Chemotherapy sessions at intervals of 21 days. After each Chemo she had a hell of a time with vomiting, nausea, excessive pain in abdomen etc. When problems taper down slowly, she had to get ready for another chemo session. After the third Chemo she had a very bad day with unmanageable nausea, mainly retching and sometimes success in vomiting. This took her to ICU in Asian Institute of Gastroenterology for five days and she ultimately succumbed to Cancer. Some complications were: Some block in larger intestines resulting in severe constipation and fluid effusion in lungs. She had a bout of viral fever for a week in between. During this one week all of us - care givers - (my self and two daughters), were also down with Chicken Gunia. I escaped with least trouble and my younger daughter is yet to recover fully even today. In a short period she suffered great pain. We are all thankful to God that he listened to our prayer: Please help her die soonest without much pain.

Unfortunately this pancreatic cancer is not easily diagnosed in early stages. When the discovery happens it is too late for any treatment. In most cases even surgery or radiation therapy are ruled out leaving Chemotherapy as final and only choice. 95% of pancreatic cancer patients die within a year. Surviving for 3 to 6 months is common. My wife happens to be a commoner!

What prompted her to go for proper diagnosis was an article she read which said: If you are above 50, losing weight and have severe abdominal pain then check for pancreatic cancer immediately. That is what she did and to our utter dismay her fears turned out to be true.

Only six months ago, on the occasion of our wedding day in May, I wrote a note stating reasons why I like my wife. It is reproduced below.

1. Devoted and doting mother to my two daughters: She is a friend, philosopher and a guide to them. She adjusts and sacrifices her own needs for the sake of our children. She compensates for all my fatherly inadequacies. Perfect understanding among these three.
2. Her innate intelligence. I can not tolerate dullards and dumbos. She is quick to understand situations and quicker to act calmly in crisis ridden situations.
3. Maturity: She has been constantly growing mature consciously over the years. Now almost everything is OK when it comes to others.
4. Her sympathy and empathy for others. She could even make herself sick thinking about others’ woes and misfortunes.
5. A Doer: She is a doer, ever active. When a problem occurs she would start tackling it right away (“Niptafy” she would say) instead waiting for some Muhurtam!
6. She is a stickler for cleanliness at home – a quality my children have inherited
7. She is never demanding – clothes, jewelry or anything like these. Her wants and needs are absolutely minimal.
8. She knows how to keep herself happy. She can be alone all by herself and not feel lonely. She does not demand even others’ time or attention.
9. Battling with poor health: She has been suffering from high BP for thirty years. Nature has not been kind to her health to say the least.
10. During the last few years (post retirement syndrome?) I have become a difficult person to live with. I KNOW. She has been putting up with me patiently, a GEM that she is.