Delivery of mental healthcare is poor: Ramodass

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Bangalore, Feb 22: The Union minister for Health and Family welfare Anbumani Ramadoss, today expressed concern over poor delivery of mental healthcare, both in Urban and Rural parts of the country.

Delivering the presidential address at the 12th convocation of the National Institute of Meantal and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS) here he said that presently only 3300 qualified doctors in mental disorders were available in the country of one billion people. Out of this 3000 were in five metros and just 300 in semi urban and rural areas, he stated.

Stating that over 1.5 per cent of the Country's population suffered from severe mental disorders, he said 80 per cent of them lived in rural areas. "We have a huge dearth of human resource to tackle the challenge," he said.

Informing that over Rs 1200 crore would be spent to provide mental health care during the 11th plan, the minister said that taking into consideration of the dearth of qualified personnel to treat mental disorders, it was decided to provide a basic training to doctors working in state hospitals. "NIMHANS has been designated to provide such training to the doctors who in turn would treat patients at rural areas," he said.

Hailing NIMHANS for its integrated approach in finding solutions to provide mental healthcare in both rural and urban areas, Dr Ramadoss said the Rs 1200 crore 11th plan outlay would help initiate qualitative and quantitative steps for setting up systems of delivery of mental healthcare in this millennium.

The minister also informed that the new plan document proposed to cover the whole country in a phased manner with the district level mental health programmes. Each district would have an outlay of Rs one crore per annum and the programme would be sponsored by the centre.

Expressing concern over the increasing incidence of suicide the minister said a national suicide prevention plan had been proposed under the Human Resources development and capacity building exercise, he said.

Mr Ramadoss said considering NIMHANS's mentoring role to enhance and upgrade mental healthcare and treatment in the country, it had been designated the lead role for planning and delivering disaster mental health services in the country and nearly 20,000 professionals would be trained. NIMHANS would also take initiative to network nearly 20 schools of social work and NGO's in South India to deliver psycho social care for survivors of disaster.

Expressing grave concern over the increased use of Tobacco, the minister said it was th source of over 40 per cent health problems faced by the people. There were over 300 million tobacco users in the country and 26 per cent of them were smokers of Beedi, he said.

Infant and maternal mortality, cardio-vascular and life-style diseases, malnutrition, alcoholism and foeticide were the other major health challenges country was facing, apart from HIV/AIDS, TB and Cancer, the minister added.


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