Several non-governmental organizations in Darrang and Udalguri districts on Wednesday urged the different political parties contesting the Assam Assembly elections to include the issue of mental health in their manifestoes.
The two districts will go to the polls during the second phase of elections on April 1.
The last date of filing of nominations for the second phase of the Assam Assembly polls was Wednesday.
The Journalists’ Association of Assam general secretary Narayan Deka expressed grave concern over the growing instances of mental illness in the state and the sheer ignorance of the policy makers to the issue.
The scribe body has demanded that one psychiatrist, at least three paramedical staff and a regular supply of necessary medicines be provided in each of the peripheral primary health centres in the two districts.
The organization also demanded separate wards for people with mental illness in all district hospitals and the appointment of three regular psychiatrists and necessary paramedical staff in all such hospitals.
“There are only two psychiatrists in the Darrang district hospital who cater to a population of 10 lakhs. Medicines in the department are not supplied centrally unlike other departments and have to be procured locally under the National Health Mission,” said Chandra Kanta Nath, president of a village-level mental health committee.
“This results in a shortage of medicines for nearly two months every year during the procuring process,” Nath said.