The Department of Ayurveda, Yoga, Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy (AYUSH) will introduce herbal biscuits called ‘Ayush Pushti’ on a pilot basis in one of the backward taluks of the State with the highest malnourishment cases, Minister for Health and Family Welfare U.T. Khader said.

Speaking at a press meet in Mangalore on Wednesday, he said the biscuits with herbal ingredients will initially be given to Anganwadi children. Depending on the outcome of the pilot project, the scheme will be rolled out for the State. A stock of the biscuits is ready to be supplied to one taluk and funds have been earmarked for it under National Rural Health Mission (NRHM).

Mobiles for ASHA

Mr. Khader said the State government was ready to provide mobile phones with SIM cards to all 35,000 Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) in the State. ASHAs are community health workers in the NRHM implemented by the Union government across the country. Under NRHM guidelines, ASHAs are paid performance-based incentives for promoting health care programmes.

He said, “The Health Ministry has agreed to provide Closed User Group SIM cards under the NRHM. It will help in providing guidance to the ASHA workers. The messages from the Department, Secretariat, Chief Minister, will reach them immediately.”

The Health Department will also start an integrated medicine system in one taluk in all districts shortly.

The Department was ready to hire doctors on contract, case and time basis and 90 per cent of the vacancies in PHCs had been filled, he said.