After THE inclusion of paediatrics as an independent subject in the MBBS curriculum,apart from the existing medicine,obstetrics and gynaecology and surgery,the MCI should accord the same status to psychiatry,said Sujaya Krishnan, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
With a view to create a pool of psychiatrists and encourage students to take up the discipline,the Medical Council of India (MCI) should revise the MBBS curriculum and make psychiatry a compulsory subject,feels Sujaya Krishnan, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
Krishnan,who was in the city to review the district level mental health programmes in the western region,told Newsline that there are barely 3,800 psychiatrists in the country.
After the inclusion of paediatrics as an independent subject in the MBBS curriculum,apart from the existing medicine,obstetrics and gynaecology and surgery,Krishnan said,the MCI should accord the same status to psychiatry. Presently,a third year MBBS student has to appear for a short paper on psychiatry which is not enough to get proper understanding of the subject.
The 12th five year plan has proposed a five-fold increase in the budgetary allocation for mental health programmes that need to reactivated in the light of stress levels that are going up both in rural and urban areas.
We have 11 centres of excellence and there is an acute need to trained professionals such as clinical psychologists,psychiatrists and even trained general physicians to identify patients with mental illness, Krishnan said.
India,with a population in excess of 1.1 billion,faces enormous challenges with respect to provisions of mental health care. Integration of mental health into general health care and training of general doctors in mental health is being implemented since 1961,but community-based care was not introduced until 1982 in the national mental health programme. As many as 67 primary care doctors were trained,a mental health primary care model was developed (based on the 1985-90 Bellary model) and a district mental health programme was launched in four districts in 1997.
However,state governments target to train 20 per cent of doctors under two-week programme over 5 years have not been achieved. The district mental health programme is currently under way only in 123 of 640 districts,and total coverage is anticipated to be achieved by 2017.
Experts pointed out at the review meeting that there will be insufficient psychiatrists to meet the requirements of the district mental health programme model.
At the meeting several nodal officers from districts of Maharashtra,Goa and Gujarat stressed the need for more psychiatrists and funds to implement the district mental health programme. Dr Alka Pawar,Director of Maharashtra Institute of Mental Health (MIMH) and others were present on the occasion.