Thiruvananthapuram: Health Minister P.K. Sreemathy has called for a major campaign to protect and strengthen public health, on the lines of the total literacy campaign that had taken Kerala by storm in the late Eighties.
Coordinated efforts by academics, health planners, public health activists, and community participation were crucial to reviving the floundering public health scenario in the State. More than the curative side, the States priority should be preventive medicine and scientific research, she said, while inaugurating a symposium on �Health policy and planning, organised by the Kerala University of Health and Allied Sciences (KUHAS), here on Thursday.
The high burden of morbidity owing to mental illnesses should be another priority area for the State. �We do not want to fill our mental health centres and hospitals with patients. Rather, we need a community-based approach wherein the health workers should go to the community, identify and treat people with mental illnesses, Ms. Sreemathy said.
She suggested that the KUHAS and the State Planning Board take the lead in devising a major campaign, by involving health and allied sectors, to revive and protect the States public health.
Planning Board vice-chairman Prabhat Patnaik presided over the inaugural session.