Most doctors in favour of city-based jobs, says project coordinators

A rural mental health programme initiated by the Snehasparsham Kidney Patients Welfare Society of the district panchayat has hit a roadblock with the unavailability of psychiatrists for treating patients. Now, the pilot scheme is run with the voluntary support of a psychiatrist from a private hospital in the city.

Though the society tried to get the support of senior psychiatrists from government hospitals in the district, the effort went in vain as they were not in a situation to spare time.

The standing instruction of the government on treatment outside hospitals has reportedly made some of them wary.

Coordinators of the project said they were struggling to get the support of private practitioners in psychiatry as most of the doctors were in favour of city-based jobs. When the organisers contacted junior doctors in the stream, they were not interested as they plan to do higher studies.

“Whatever be the hindrances, we have no plan to drop the scheme as it is aimed at an underprivileged segment in rural areas which has no other option for getting quality treatment for mental illness and continuous medication,” says K. Madhusoodanan, project coordinator and executive committee member of the society.

Support

The society, he says, will seek the support of the Health Department to get the services of at least 10 government doctors.

The society, with the support of the district panchayat, has written to the government explaining the importance of the scheme and the voluntary support needed from senior psychiatrists in government hospitals for its success.

Though the initial reply from the government was “positive,” a policy-level decision will be needed to realise it fast, the office-bearers says.

Training

Mr. Madhusoodanan says the society is considering the scope of training a select group of doctors from the district with the support of the Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences here. It will be considered if support of senior psychiatrists cannot be obtained.

Jaffer Baramy, treasurer of the Snehasparsham project, says the scheme that covered hundreds of people with renal diseases in the first phase is functioning with the humble contribution of people from various segments.

“Already we have conducted medical camps in some rural areas to screen the patients and offer them regular treatment. For further interventions in the mental health sector, the support of medical fraternity will be crucial and the society is earnestly looking for that,” he adds.

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