Srinagar, Dec 31: As the curtains draw on 2023, the Kashmir health sector witnessed remarkable strides in mental health awareness, a fight against drug addiction, and a leap into digital healthcare.
The administration’s proactive approach towards substance abuse, particularly the reports on drug consumption, illuminate the gravity of the issue. The prevalence of drug abuse among youngsters in Kashmir has reached an alarming level, with the Drug De-addiction Centre at SMHS Hospital witnessing a significant increase in new cases.
The strides made in mental health, exemplified by the success of Tele Manas and the Substance Use Survey, indicate a growing recognition of the importance of mental well-being. However, the surge in mental health issues, exemplified by the 29,000 calls on Tele Manas, emphasises the need for sustained efforts and increased awareness.
The tireless efforts in the Tuberculosis (TB) Elimination programme have yielded impressive results. Districts like Pulwama, Anantnag, and Budgam have been declared TB-free, offering a beacon of hope for the entire region. This achievement is particularly significant considering the sharp decline in TB cases compared to 2021.
Twelve more seats were sanctioned by the National Board of Examinations in Medical Science (NBEMS) under the Diplomate of National Board (DNB) for the public institutions of J&K.
The initiation of digital services such as scan and share, along with digital payment facilities, marks a significant leap into the future of healthcare.
Jammu and Kashmir was among the top-performing states/UTs in implementing the digital scan-based OPD registration service for patients under the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM) Scheme along with Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka.
The paperless service launched in October 2022 under the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM) allows patients to scan the QR code placed at the Out-Patient Department (OPD) registration counter and share their ABHA profile for instant registration. This service is currently active in more than 2,600 health facilities across 419 districts in 33 States and Union Territories of India.
Jammu and Kashmir's collaboration with global partners, recognition at national forums, and accolades for initiatives like Pradhan Mantri TB Mukt Bharat Abhiyaan and Tele Manas underscore the region's global standing in healthcare endeavours.
While celebrating successes, it's essential to acknowledge the health challenges faced by the Valley population. The fight against COVID-19 demands continuous vigilance. The rise in diseases like cancer, diabetes, and hypertension underscores the need for comprehensive preventive measures and lifestyle interventions.
As we step into 2024, the focus should extend beyond infrastructure and educational advancements. The region needs a comprehensive strategy for preventing and managing health issues, including communicable diseases, non-communicable diseases, mental health challenges, and substance abuse.
The vision for 2024 should prioritise filling vacant healthcare positions, leveraging technology for innovative healthcare solutions, and fostering community awareness and participation. Additionally, sustainable measures to address environmental concerns, promote a healthier lifestyle, and ensure access to clean water are vital components of a holistic healthcare approach.