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Health Conclave: Post Covid, mental ailments, drug addiction cases up in J&K, says LG

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Extends all-out support to H&ME Dept to counter challenges

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir’s Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha Wednesday said post Covid pandemic in the UT, the mental ailment and drug addiction related cases have shown a spurt.

He, however, extended all-out support to the Health and Medical Education (H&ME) department and Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (IMHANS) for addressing both the issues effectively.

Addressing the Health Conclave at SKICC on the banks of Srinagar, the LG as per news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), said that in the past three to four years, health care has changed a lot right from primary to district level. “Patient care has improved and massive health care related infrastructure has been set up across the UT,” he said. “New technological tools have been introduced that saves time and helps the doctors ensure best possible treatment to the patients.”

The LG said that as per the study done by the IMHANS, post Covid-19 pandemic, mental ailments that include common mental disorders, severe mental disorders and drug addiction among youth has shown a surge. “The UT administration extends its full support to the H&ME, IMHANS and doctors to pull out the youth from anxiety and the vicious cycle of drug abuse,” he said as per KNO.

He urged the H&ME department to launch massive awareness campaigns at Pachayat levels about ways and means of preventing anxiety and fighting drug addiction. He said the introduction of Tele -Mental Assistance and Networking Across States (MANAS) in J&K’s Health Sector is going to help in a big way to fight various mental disorders.

“Today, IMHANS has signed a MoU with Tata Institute. We have got Tele MANAS and this will definitely help in a big way to counsel youth suffering from mental disorders including depression and anxiety,” the LG said.

Tele Mental Health Assistance and Networking Across States (Tele-MANAS) initiative has been launched by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare during October 2022. It aims to provide free tele-mental health services all over the country round the clock, particularly catering to people in remote or under-served areas. There is a toll-free number available for round the clock counselling.

The LG said that there is a misconception among people that they can get every kind of facility in their areas. “We have started two new Cancer Institutes in Kashmir and Jammu where special treatment to the fatal disease will be provided. There will also be counselling for cancer prevention as well,” he said. The LG said at many hospitals, there is equipment but no manpower available to operate them. “This needs to be addressed,” he said.

He said post 2019, J&K got 7 medical colleges, two AIIMS, 8 nursing colleges, two cancer institutes, and 2 bone and joint hospitals. The LG advocated “structural changes” after thorough deliberations with the public and stakeholders in the Health and H&ME department. “It should not always be that an Assistant professor should become Professor and Principal. Let there be deliberations over the issue,” he said.

Earlier, speaking on the occasion LG’s Advisor RR Bhatnagar, the government has started rating hospitals and departments in J&K. “Health care facilities will be much better in the coming years,” he said. In his speech, Chief Secretary Arun Kumar Mehta said that the future of health care in J&K is going to be very good if not best. “Digitalization of health records of a person right from their birth is going to be beneficial for the patient,” he said. Present on the occasion were the representatives from Tata Memorial Institute; WHO and officials from the J&K’s Health and H&ME department.

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