Transformations in Kashmir’s Mental Healthcare Sector in 2024

Kashmir's Mental Healthcare

Unveiling Progress: Kashmir’s Health Sector in Review

As we end 2023, there has been a noticeable transformation in the health sector of Kashmir.

It is seen through notable improvements in key areas like increasing awareness about mental health, fighting drug abuse, and embracing digital health care.

Once again, this year showed how proactive the area has been while also highlighting the continuing problems that lay ahead.

Elevating Mental Health Awareness and Combating Substance Abuse

The administration’s proactive stance in addressing substance abuse has brought to light just how serious the issue is.

Shocking revelations have emerged regarding drug abuse among young people in Kashmir.

This is leading to a noticeable increase in the number of new cases that are being reported at the Drug De-addiction Centre located within SMHS Hospital premises.

At the same time, developments in mental health awareness campaigns such as Tele Manas and Substance Use Survey point towards a growing concern about mental wellbeing among populations within this area.

However, increasing incidents of mental ailments, notably shown by an overwhelming 29,000 calls made through Tele Manas hotline services by people calling for help.

This indicates an immediate need for enhanced efforts and more understanding on these problems.

Triumphs in Healthcare Initiatives and Disease Eradication

Striving towards achieving Tuberculosis (TB) Elimination has not been in vain. Some districts such as Pulwama, Anantnag and Budgam can joyfully declare themselves TB free areas that provide some hope for the entire region.

This success is remarkable due to a sharp drop in TB cases compared to the previous numbers recorded from 2021.

Additionally, twelve more seats have been sanctioned by National Board of Examinations for Medical Science (NBEMS) under Diplomate of National Board (DNB) program for public institutions in Jammu and Kashmir.

This has been a milestone achieved towards enhanced medical education and expertise within this area.

Leap into the Digital Era of Healthcare

Jammu and Kashmir’s step towards using technologies like ‘scan and share’ features or making payments digitally related to healthcare signifies going deep into what lies ahead.

The region’s commitment to technology in healthcare is evident through its remarkable performance in rolling out the digital scan-based Out-Patient Department (OPD) registration services under the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM) Scheme.

This paperless service of instant registration by scanning QR code at the OPD registration counter has spread to over 2,600 health facilities across 419 districts of 33 Indian states and union territories.

Jammu and Kashmir’s position within the global healthcare innovation space has been cemented further by collaborations with international partners and recognition for initiatives such as Pradhan Mantri TB Mukt Bharat Abhiyaan or Tele Manas.

However, despite these achievements, it is important not to lose sight of public health challenges affecting people living in the Valley.

The ongoing fight against COVID-19 calls for continued vigilance. Rising cases of diseases such as cancer, diabetes and hypertension indicate need for comprehensive preventive strategies and lifestyle interventions.

As we enter into 2024, we should focus beyond infrastructural and educational development.

The region should develop a comprehensive plan that would incorporate prevention measures as well as management strategies for communicable/non-communicable diseases, substance abuse and mental health problems.

The vision for 2024 must prioritize addressing vacant healthcare positions, harnessing technology for innovative healthcare solutions, and fostering community engagement and awareness.

Additionally, there is a need for sustainable measures towards addressing environmental concerns, promoting healthier lifestyles as well as guaranteeing access to clean water on which a holistic approach to healthcare stands.

Essentially, the journey of healthcare sector in Kashmir has been a mixture of achievement and realization in 2023.

As we usher in a new year, the expectation for 2024 is a continued drive towards better health and resilience for inhabitants of this area.

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