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Mental Health in South Asia:Resource Scarcity and Systemic Neglect

Dr. Anwar Islam

Journal Title:International Journal of Current Medical Science and Dental Research

In population size India, Pakistan and Bangladesh comprising the Indian sub-continent are the largest in South Asia with a combined population of 1.66 billion. Although widespread poverty, natural disasters, environmental degradation and rapid urbanization make the population of these countries most vulnerable to health hazards, they spend little money as a percentage of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on health care. While India spends only 4.7% of its GDP on health, Pakistan and Bangladesh spend even less - 2.6% and 2.8% of their GDP on health respectively. Resources dedicated to mental health are far lower. The paper critically examines the pattern of mental health resources (human, financial and facilities) in these South Asia countries with a view to highlight the plight of the mentally ill. This may help explain, partially at least, the continuing systemic neglect faced by mental health in these South Asian countries comprising more than 23% of the global population