BANGALORE: “While we have made enormous strides in de-stigmatising patients of HIV/AIDS through public awareness campaign, we have not been able to replicate the same regarding mental disorders. We must reduce the stigma through public awareness”, said Vice-President M Hamid Ansari.
Addressing the 16th convocation at NIMHANS here on Friday, he maintained that there is a huge gap between the demand for mental health services provision. Over two thirds of those who suffer from mental illness do not receive the treatment.
Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said that the country is facing triple burden of persisting communicable disease, new and re-emerging infections and the rapidly increasing non communicable disease. Further, he said that the progress achieved has not been uniform across the states and there are notable differences in the health parameters between males and females.
Speaking on the occasion, Azad maintained that the government is mulling audits to check health related scams under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM). “We have to have audits in future to check health-related scams, including NRHM scam. These audit would cover everything as the ministry has a list of under construction hospitals.
He said that during 2005-12, over 1.4 lakh personnel have been added to the health system and infrastructure has strengthened by taking up 594 district hospitals, 2721 community health centres, 5459 primary health centres and 31,001 sub centres for new construction.
Speaking on the sidelines of the function about malnutrition in India, Azad maintained that it cannot be done by the central government alone. On being asked if hospitals across India are in good shape, he said that health is a state subject and state governments should provide additional funds, apart from central funds to create infrastructure.
Azad maintained that a Bill on recognising NIMHANS as an institute of national importance had been introduced in Parliament in the winter session but could not be taken up for discussion due to disruptions. “However, government hopes to get it passed in the budget session,” he said.
Azad also dedicated the Infosys Foundation Dharmashala located at the NIMHANS premises to the patients and their kith and kin. Azad said that at the time of setting up a hospital, provision must be made for Guest Houses recognising the fact that families form an important part of health care in India and we need to provide affordable space.