Srinagar, Oct 8: The prevalence of diabetes and hypertension has surged within tribal populations, raising concerns about the long-term health consequences.
This was stated by doctors at a roundtable conference at Government Medical College, Srinagar. As per them, lifestyle factors, limited access to healthcare, and dietary habits are contributing to the rising rates of these non-communicable diseases among tribal communities in J&K.
Dr NK Arora from INCLEN Trust International said that over 2000 tribals living in Srinagar have diabetes and hypertension.
“There should be a change in behaviour towards tribals. Better healthcare facilities should be provided to them,” he added.
Dr Shafi Koka, State Nodal Officer-NHM J&K said that only 70 percent of tribal population are immunized so far, while 67 percent of them are anaemic.
“There should be acceptability among the tribal population. We are going to set up mobile medical units, 334 Ashas will be deployed for the tribal population. One Asha will work for 250 people,” he said.
Dr Ashraf Ganai, Professor Endocrinology &Head Clinical Research at SKIMS said that besides hypertension, diabetes, the vitamin D and Iodine deficiency are common among tribal population.
“Even there is a macro and micronutrient deficiency among them. We have done research on it. We need to have a concrete policy and change behaviour towards the tribal population,” he said.
Earlier, Government Medical College Srinagar and ECHO India joined hands in a collaborative initiative to conduct a roundtable discussion to explore innovative solutions for healthcare system strengthening for tribal communities. This pioneering effort seeks to bring together key stakeholders through consultations and discussions to address unique healthcare challenges faced by tribal people in the region.
Dr. Shahid Iqbal Choudhary, Secretary of the Tribal Affairs Department and Director of the Tribal Research Institute said that the objective is to create a comprehensive roadmap that addresses the unique healthcare challenges faced by tribal communities in the mountainous regions of Jammu and Kashmir.
Bhupinder Kumar, Secretary to the Government of the Health & Medical Education Department, highlighted the importance of inclusivity and innovation.
“This event serves as a platform for meaningful discussions and consultations, where experts converge to shape the future of healthcare for underserved tribal populations. Our shared dedication is a testament to our resolve to empower these communities with healthcare solutions that are both equitable and effective,” he said.
Dr. Masood Tanvir, Principal and Dean of Government Medical College Srinagar said, “I would like to express my sincere appreciation to ECHO India for their invaluable contribution in organizing a roundtable discussion on tribal health. This initiative is a significant step towards addressing the healthcare needs of tribal communities. Together, we can work towards improving the health and well-being of these underserved populations.”
Professor (Dr.) SM Mohd Salim Khan, H.O.D- Community Medicine, GMC Srinagar said that the collaboration with ECHO India signifies a significant step in our approach to healthcare in marginalized regions.
“Together, we are cultivating a vision of equity where every individual, regardless of their background, can access high-quality care. This roadmap will lead to improved well-being and resilience among tribal populations,” he said.