I am indeed happy to be
amidst you on the occasion of the First NIMCARE World Health Day -
Global Summit. Celebrated on April 7 every year to mark the anniversary
of the founding of the World Health Organization, the World Health Day
provides a unique opportunity to mobilize action around a specific
health topic of concern to people all over the world. The theme of the
2017 W.H.O. Day campaign is “Depression: Let’s Talk”.
2. I am happy that NIMCARE has taken the lead in organizing this
Conference on World Health Day. The slogan of the first NIMCARE World
Health Day Summit is, ‘Unite for a Healthy Mind’. Some time ago, the
entire world made a commitment in the form of Sustainable Development
Goals in which mental health and well-being figure prominently. With
these, we have committed ourselves to achieve quantified targets by
2030. Looking at the scale of the problem and limited time available,
our task is indeed quite challenging.
Ladies and gentlemen,
3. Lack of mental well-being contributes significantly to the total
disability and morbidity burden across the world. Productivity of human
beings, whether in workforce or in family situations, gets reduced
significantly if one has any mental disorder. Mental health disorders
span a very wide range from simple disorders to very complex situations.
It is often seen that simpler disorders, if not managed in time, tend to
become more complex putting the patient at higher risk of morbidity.
Such patients often become a bigger burden on the families.
4. Out of all the mental health disorders, depression is probably the
most common. Depression affects people of all ages from all walks of
life and in all countries. As per the National Mental Health Survey
2015-16 conducted by NIMHANS, 5.2% of the Indian adult population
suffers from depression in some form or the other. The problem of
depression often gets ignored due to lack of understanding on the part
of family members. The social stigma attached to a mental disorder, even
if it is easily treatable, is also a major problem in India. However,
people have now started talking about this issue leading to greater
awareness in this respect. I would like to point out that traditional
Indian values along with our family system, can be good mechanisms to
support those who suffer from mental health disorders. I would like to
urge medical practitioners here to focus on the social support systems,
spiritual beliefs and practices as well as the system of Yoga in their
quest for providing well-being to all.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
5. There is a severe shortage of mental health professionals in India
and this service gap can be bridged effectively by telemedicine. The
World Health Day Summit has begun in the right direction by launching
the eCAP & SOL’s Telepsychiatry application for the rural and urban
population in need of mental health consultation. I am happy to know
that the International Society for Telemedicine and e-Health, USA has
now recognized Telemedicine Society of India as the official National
society presenting telemedicine activities in India. Telepsychiatry will
help in reducing the mortality rate considerably, with the advent of
mobile apps which are being developed. This will be of immense
importance in giving consultation services to the unreached patients.
6. I am particularly happy to have received the first copy of a CD on
“Guidelines & Resource Materials for Telemedicine Centers of Armed
Forces”. Telemedicine application in Armed Force’s health care delivery
and the health monitoring of defence force personnel and their
dependents is of paramount importance. With the introduction of new
NODES for implementation of Telemedicine for the Army, accessibility to
quality healthcare especially in hilly areas of the north east will be
enriched. I have no doubt that, Telemedicine will play a very important
role in saving the lives of our Army jawans and provide them advance
updates on health related issues. Telemedicine is well suited for Armed
Forces and will significantly improve the health care delivery system.
Ladies and Gentleman:
7. I am glad that the organizers of this World Health Day Summit have
planned strategic follow up conclaves in different cities of the world
to create a broad framework for collective action. I appeal to all of
you, to THINK GLOBALLY and ACT LOCALLY. I also urge all relevant
stakeholders to come together in meeting the challenges of depression.
8. I am indeed happy to have conferred the NIMCARE Life Time Achievement
Award on Dr. N M Veeraiyan, Chancellor, Saveetha University, Chennai who
has transformed Saveetha University into one of the leading universities
in the country through his dedication, commitment and hard work. It is
also my privilege to have presented the NIMCARE World Health Day Awards
of Excellence to outstanding citizens of our nation in recognition of
their outstanding services to the people.
Ladies and Gentleman:
9. Before I conclude, I applaud the efforts of Dr Vijay G Prabhakar a
renowned public health practitioner from Chicago, USA for taking this
initiative to conduct the first NIMCARE World Health Summit here in
India and also congratulate the co-host organisations who have united
with NIMCARE to form a broad framework to create awareness about
depression and combating it. I welcome the co-host organisations from
overseas to this Summit.
10. Let us strive to make even greater progress in our efforts to create
awareness about depression and focus on further strengthening our health
care delivery systems. I am confident that this NIMCARE World Health Day
Summit will provide all of you an opportunity to get inspired,
challenged and make meaningful partnerships for your continued growth. I
hope all the participants here go back better equipped to handle mental
health care situations that warrant urgent attention. Let us all unite
for addressing the issue of mental health care and to prevent and combat
depression. I wish you Godspeed and success in all your endeavours.