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India’s first Tele-MANAS chat-bot to ensure 24X7 services of health counsellors launched in J&K


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 Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha on Wednesday launched India’s first Tele-MANAS chat-bot in the Union Territory, which will ensure round-the-clock services of health counsellors, clinical psychologists and consultants, officials said.

The service was launched after Sinha inaugurated ‘J&K Health Conclave’ on mental health and non-communicable diseases at SKICC here, they said.

On the occasion, the J&K Health and Medical Education Department inked memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with Homi Bhabha Cancer Hospital and Research Centre and NIMHANS, the officials said.

The Centre had in Budget 2022 announced the National Tele Mental Health Programme of India, Tele Mental Health Assistance and Networking Across States (Tele-MANAS). Tele-MANAS is a two-tier system. Tier 1 comprises State Tele MANAS cells, which includes trained counsellors and mental health specialists. Tier 2 comprises specialists at District Mental Health Programme (DMHP)/Medical College resources for physical consultation and/or eSanjeevani for audio visual consultation, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare website.

In his address at the conclave, the LG commended the efforts of the Health department to bring together medical experts on a common platform to deliberate on most challenging health issues and to generate awareness on mental health and life threatening non-communicable diseases.

“Our ultimate objective is patient-centred care and all the efforts are being made to ensure that primary health centres and district hospitals provide quality care focusing on the physical as well as emotional well-being of individual patients,” Sinha said.

He said the new landmark initiatives launched are testimony to the commitment of the J&K administration in providing quality, affordable and accessible healthcare services to all.

The MoU inked between the J&K Health and Medical Education Department and the Homi Bhabha Cancer Hospital and Research Centre will provide significant technical support to improve cancer care services in the UT and help us to establish preventive oncology service, daycare centres and palliative care service at district hospitals, the LG said.

Another important MoU signed with NIMHANS Bengaluru will improve mental health services, training and capacity building of medical officers and nursing staff, he added.

Sinha said per capita spending on the health sector in J&K is among the highest in the country.

During upgradation or building new infrastructure, we have focused on three factors- effectiveness, accessibility and resilient system, the LG said.

He called upon the medical fraternity and all stakeholders to deliberate upon the structural changes required in the healthcare sector. “We need to have progressive rules and laws for modern healthcare,” he added.

He further advised the Health Department on community involvement for awareness campaigns on the National Mental Health Program and to ensure the benefits of the programme reach the needy.

On the occasion, the LG also inaugurated 44 healthcare facilities worth Rs 56.18 crore to strengthen the medical infrastructure in J&K.

He also rolled out and launched several new initiatives to strengthen health system resilience including T3 – Test, Treat and Talk, anemia camps, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease programme and scan and share service for OPD registration.

In order to improve community extension of health services, the National Health Mission, Jammu and Kashmir, is recruiting 380 additional ASHAs and 31 ASHA facilitators as approved by the central government, Sinha said.

There are also 334 numbers of tribal ASHAs sanctioned for various districts of J&K meant to cater the health care needs of the tribal population in an attempt to improve the health indicators of the migratory population, he said.

Rajeev Rai Bhatnagar, Advisor to LG; Dr Arun Kumar Mehta, Chief Secretary; Bhupinder Kumar, Secretary Health and Medical Education; Dr Roderico. H.Ofrin, WHO representative to India; Dr Pratima Murthy, Director NIMHANS; Dr RA Badwe, Director Tata Memorial Centre; Dr Ashish Gulia, Director Homi Bhabha Cancer Hospital & Research Centre; Prof. Parvaiz Ahmad Koul, Director SKIMS; Prof. Masood Tanvir, Principal GMC Srinagar; HoDs, medical experts and members from medical fraternity were present.

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