Mangalore, Aug 28, 2014: Mental health care in Karnataka is all set for ’ Super Tuesday’ with departments of health and family welfare and medical education joining hands. On this day, doctors in primary health centres, community health centres, taluk and district hospitals in Karnataka will compulsorily focus their attention on treating people with mental ailments and distribute essential drugs needed for their treatment in all these government health facilities.
If the first part of Tuesdays mentioned above will see doctors from department of health and family welfare play their part, doctors from department of psychiatry in government medical colleges under the department of medical education will fan out in their respective districts giving specialised care to those who need it. This move, according to minister for health U T Khader is aimed at mitigating shortage of trained psychiatrists.
Khader said the respective district health and family welfare officers and heads of health units at the village, taluk and district level will be tasked with ensuring that they have adequate stock of essential drugs needed to treat people with mental illness. Failure to do so will attract stiff penalties, he said, adding arrangement with medical education department will see psychiatrists getting leave with pay to stay away from their teaching duties for the day.
Heads of departments of psychiatry in government medical colleges will monitor the ’paid’ leave given to their colleagues who will be assigned a particular primary or community health centre or a taluk and district hospital as the case may be; Khader said allaying fears that there will be no accountability to this new move. The government is also in talks with private medical colleges to source their psychiatrists for this new initiative, Khader said.
The entire exercise has been undertaken as per discussions with the Karnataka State Mental Health Task Force headed by eminent psychiatrist Dr K A Ashok Pai, Khader said, adding treatment centres started on district hospital premises some time back and that went defunct will be revived again. This arrangement arrived with NGOs to provide succour to those with mental ailments will be revamped and streamlined for effective delivery, Khader said.