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Ashok Pai laments dearth of experienced psychiatrists

Staff Correspondent

As against the WHO norms of one psychiatrist for every 1.18 lakh people, the ratio in India is one psychiatrist for 3.5 lakh people

BELGAUM: The Manasa Educational Foundation will make Shimoga a major centre for mental health education, Ashok Pai, Director of the foundation, said here on Friday.

He was here as part of his campaign to create awareness about mental health and the educational programmes offered under the umbrella of Kuvempu University.

Dr. Pai has a good record in the film field.

The films, "Kadina Benki," "Usha Kirana," and "Aghaat," based on his work, won national awards.

Psychiatry being his chosen field, he has now embarked upon achieving his goal of creating psychiatrists who can help individuals with different psychological disorders. Girish Karnad and Suresh Heblikar, film-makers, have joined hands with him in this endeavour.

Dr. Pai told presspersons that the foundation's study and research centre in Shimoga, which started offering postgraduate degrees and diplomas in distance education mode two years ago, aims at bridging the gap in the ratio of psychiatrists to the population.

As against the World Health Organisation recommendation of one psychiatrist for every 1.18 lakh people, the ratio in India is one psychiatrist for 3.5 lakh people.

He sought to draw attention to the fact that every two of hundred individuals in the world are "acutely ill" and require hospitalisation for mental illness. He said there are hardly 6,000 psychiatrists in the country.

He pointed out that although the Government decided to include sex education as part of the school or college curriculum in 2002, it could not be implemented for want of trained hands.

V.V. Shenoy, the foundation's Belgaum district cocoordinator, was present.

Interested persons can call 08182-273236 or 223864 for details.

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