Jayanagar General Hospital in Bengaluru gets a brain health clinic 

Set up under the Karnataka Brain Health Initiative, similar clinics will come up at SNR Hospital in Kolar and District Hospital in Chickballapur

Updated - July 22, 2022 10:28 pm IST

Published - July 22, 2022 02:50 pm IST - Bengaluru

Minister of Health K. Sudhakar and cricketer Robin Uthappa at the launch of a brain health clinic at Jayanagar General Hospital in Bengaluru on Friday.

Minister of Health K. Sudhakar and cricketer Robin Uthappa at the launch of a brain health clinic at Jayanagar General Hospital in Bengaluru on Friday. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

For early diagnosis and timely treatment of common neurological problems, such as epilepsy, headache, stroke, dementia and brain infections, from the grassroots level of primary health centres, a brain health clinic was inaugurated at the State-run Jayanagar General Hospital. It was set up under the Karnataka Brain Health Initiative (Ka-BHI).

Recognising the need to improve treatment and prevent neurological disorders in the community, the State government in association with NIMHANS and Niti Aayog launched Ka-BHI in January. The idea is to diagnose and treat neurological issues from the grassroots level of primary health centres to secondary-level district hospitals and then NIMHANS at the tertiary level. Chief MInister Basavaraj Bommai announced the initiative in the State Budget in March.

NIMHANS has trained 100 doctors at the PHC level for brain health clinics in the three pilot districts of Bengaluru South, Kolar and Chickballapur. Brain health clinics will also be started at SNR Hospital in Kolar and District Hospital in Chickballapur.

Early identification and treatment

Suvarna Alladi, professor and head of the Department of Neurology at NIMHANS, said 100 doctors have been trained through in-person and weekly online neurology interactive teaching sessions conducted by the neurology faculty of NIMHANS.

“For the first time in India, PHC doctors will be certified in the treatment of common neurological diseases. Training programme for ASHA workers has been developed to screen patients with neurological disorders at Health and Wellness centres and homes, so that early identification and treatment can be provided at the grassroots level,” she explained.

“Ka-BHI is developing strong forward and backward referral linkages between primary, secondary and tertiary levels for patients who need specialised treatment for neurological diseases,” she said.

Nodal centres for multidisciplinary care

Health and Medical Education Minister K. Sudhakar, who inaugurated the clinic, said the brain health clinics will serve as nodal centres to diagnose, treat, refer and follow-up patients with common neurological disorders.  Treatment for mental health will be available at the 243 Namma Clinics that will become functional in Bengaluru shortly, he said.

“These clinics will ensure patients with neurological diseases receive multidisciplinary care including counselling, physiotherapy, rehabilitation and disability benefits. Realising the importance of mental health counselling, we started the e-manas programme during the pandemic and this has become a model for the entire country. Over 25 lakh COVID patients have been counselled so far,” he said.

Know your PHC campaign to be launched

Earlier, at a programme organised to mark World Brain Day at NIMHANS, the Minister said some people have wrong opinions, taboos and stigma about mental health. These reasons in addition to poverty and lack of adequate facilities result in mental health issues going unaddressed.  Ka-BHI will also focus on making mental health more accessible while fighting out the stigma through awareness programs simultaneously, he said.

Cricketer Robin Uthappa, who has been appointed as the ambassador for Ka-BHI, launched brain health activities, including a cricket match titled “Reflections with Robin: Morning Cricket”. 

A statement from NIMHANS said brain health promoting activities such as physical exercise, yoga, sports, traditional art and crafts, stress reduction and nutritional support will be initiated in the pilot districts to promote brain health.

A “Know Your PHC” campaign is being launched, where trained PHC doctors will share information about brain health using various digital and in-person platforms. Messages promoting brain health will be disseminated widely and by doing so, the community will become familiar with their doctors and access the healthcare system in a timely manner, the statement said.

An IT platform being developed by IIIT Bengaluru will help digitise the Ka-BHI and facilitate monitoring, referral and efficient delivery of care, the statement added.

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