More focused and renewed strategy framed for mental healthcare: Health minister

The health ministry aims to ensure implementation of the Mental Health Policy in letter and spirit, and to establish more institutions such as NIMHANS. The focus is also on working with civil society organizations engaged in mental healthcare, said Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare J P Nadda. While speaking on the occasion of ‘World Health Day’ in Delhi on Friday, he stated that, as part of its renewed strategy for mental healthcare services, the government is strengthening PHCs and CHCs.

As per minister, extensive training is being provided to ASHAs and ANMs at PHCs and CHCs so that they can become the transformers, translators and change-makers within the community. Besides, government is providng help to states in building their capacities.

On World Health Day, he said, “(It is) A day of introspection, stock-taking, planning and strategizing for the future. It is day to think how we can move forward after the goalposts we have already achieved.”

The minister opined that the focus should be on pluralism, cross references and sharing of various practices covering geriatric, palliative and rehabilitative care.

Nadda said his ministry is undertaking universal health screening in 100 districts for hypertension, diabetes and breast, cervical and oral cancers.

He further said that the ministry has launched free drugs and diagnostics initiative that will benefit poor people in accessing healthcare.

“We will strengthen Public Health Centers (PHCs) and around one lakh subcentres will be transformed into wellness centers, 2500 have already been selected for a pilot.”

Nadda said it’s a happy coincidence that the passing of the Mental Healthcare Bill by Lok Sabha is so closely followed by the celebration of the World Health Day with its theme on Depression.

“We are witnessing a historic event in the healthcare sector of our country,” he said.

Highlighting the most progressive features of the bill, Nadda informed that the provision of advance directive, nominated representative, special clause for women and children related to admission, treatment, sanitation and personal hygiene; restriction on use of Electro-Convulsive Therapy and Psychosurgery are steps in the direction.

“Decriminalization of suicide is another significant facet of the Bill, which will ensure proper management of severe stress as a precursor for suicide attempts.”

In pic (Source: PIB): The Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare JP Nadda along with the Minister of State for Health & Family Welfare Anupriya Patel lighting the lamp on the occasion of the World Health Day 2017 with the theme “Depression: let’s talk”, in New Delhi on 7 April 2017. The DGHS, Dr Jagdish Prasad is also seen.

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