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My notes - focus on National mental health policy 05-10-2015

October 5, 2015

Towards Universal Immunisation

  • India Under Indradhanush is focusing more on its vulnerable children. It aims to immunise atleast 90% of women and children who are unvaccinated till date.  201 high priority districts, marginalised population whose immunization is low will be the focus.
  • The major cause of death among children is diarhoea Pneumonia. Extending Immunization coverage , introducing vaccines against rotavirus diarrhea, Hib and pneumococcal pneumonia could help India to transform a vicious cycle of poverty, Ill health and deprivation in to virtuous cycle of good health.
  • India can take the help of global institutions such as GAVI alliance, UNICEF, WHO to strengthen health systems and planning.




 Empower Intelligence agencies - RK Raghavan

  • The concerns of National security may demand for greater powers for security agencies and limitation on the rights of citizens. It may involve intrusion in to the personal space of the citizens. It is very much necessary as more and more acts of terrorism are home grown now.
  • The major challenge is how to safeguard the people from insensitivity, overzealousness of security agencies and misuse of their power. Here, any relaxation of privacy of citizens shall be accompanied by simultaneous creation and strengthening of oversight bodies.
  • UK M15 chief, Andrew Parker has also expressed concerns about encryption of data from tech companies, which is making the work of security agencies much tough. So, greater cooperation between tech companies and security agencies is expected. Here, again the balance between rights of the citizens and concerns of security need a fine balance.

Gas pricing and some issues

  • In october 2014, a new gas pricing policy is adopted. According to this, the Government has to revise the prices once in 6 months. These prices are benchmarked.pegged to the gas pricesd in USA, Russia, Mexico and canada.
  • Based on this, gas prices are decreased and announced at $3.8 /unit. It will decrease the Government subsidy cost on fertilisers and power.
  • There are two major challenges that remain - 1) India’s gas price follow the global cues with a time lag. The prices in India ia pegged on the benchmark prices of the previous year and takes effect after a time lag of a quarter.
  • There is a difference in price between Asia and other markets. Than why Government decided to peg the prices with above 4 countries.


National mental health policy 2014

  • National Mental Health Policy launched The National Mental Health Policy of India was launched by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in October 2014. 21 The Policy seeks to address mental health issues, its medical and non-medical aspects in a comprehensive way. The policy aims to promote mental health, enable recovery from mental illness through affordable and quality health care, and prevent stigma associated with mental illness.


They key features of the Policy are:

  • Effective governance and delivery mechanisms for mental health: Develop relevant laws and regulations and ensure adequate budgetary resources to implement aspects of mental health care. Create suitable plans at the central, state and district levels to implement mental health programs.
  • Promotion of mental health: Information and awareness regarding mental health will include (i) designing curricula towards life skills education; (ii) easy access to reliable information about mental illness; and (iii) reduce risk of mental illness amongst women, children and adolescents.
  •  Prevention of mental illness and reducing suicide: This includes (i) enabling access to early treatment and care giving facilities for early recovery; (ii) ensuring no stigma for and discrimination against mentally ill persons in all aspects of seeking and retaining work; and (iii) decriminalising attempted suicide.
  •  Universal access to mental health services: This will involve (i) developing norms and standards for quality mental health services; (ii) ensuring comprehensive services for mental health are universally accessible; and (iii) implementing screening programs for early identification and treatment of persons with mental illness.
  •  Availability of adequately trained mental health human resources: There is a need to (i) reduce gap between requirement and availability of mental health professionals such as psychiatrists, counsellors, psychologists, psychiatric social workers etc; (ii) start Masters and Diploma courses in psychiatric nursing; and (iii) train all health personnel in mental health issues.







Analysis & Challenges

India’s first-ever mental health policy calls for an increase in funds to provide those with mental illness accessible and affordable care.


The emphasis of the new policy is on the rights of the mentally ill including the suggestion that attempted suicide should be decriminalized. The policy also draws attention to the largely-neglected need to support care givers, who are almost always family members in India.


“Poverty and mental ill health are inextricably linked in a negative vicious cycle,” says the policy, acknowledging that social exclusion, unequal opportunity and income disparity could aggravate mental illness, especially for vulnerable groups, like poor, homeless women.


The policy calls for “compassion and responsibility” instead of the social stigmatization of the mentally ill. Policy portrays mental illness as a disease instead of a personal defect, which is how many in India see it.


More fundamentally, putting the policy into effect is largely contingent on the passage of the mental health bill and systemic budgetary support.




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