Consolidation of forensic labs

The discussion to consolidate forensic laboratory was held yesterday in Royal Center for Disease Control (RCDC) in presence of the Prime Minister. Also present during the discussion were health minister and representatives of relevant agencies.

The PMO said in the last three months, the entire nation was disturbed by the news of brutal deaths of two minor-girls. In the wake of vigorous investigations, a much sophisticated high-end forensic services was highly desired. For one case, samples had to be sent to United Kingdom, which delayed the investigation.

Even otherwise, there is a need for a well-equipped forensic laboratory in the country. But this is also at a time when many agencies are already considering establishing their own laboratories.

Health minister, Dechen Wangmo, proposed for a consolidation of labs, in order to optimize the limited resources, by making the most out of expertise and equipment, besides boosting efficiency. Lyonpo Dechen Wangmo said there is equipment Nu 5.7 million to 15 million in three different places to carry out forensic tests. She said only four test are done in day, which means the resources are under-utilized.

The government’s vision is to institute the good governance practices to mitigate conflict of interest. “We do our own testing, that is a huge conflict of interest, and it is a move by the government to build good governance practice and institution,” said Lyonpo..

So that it is not only relevant for today, but it will also be relevant for times to come and for future generations of this country, said Lyonpo. Prime Minister took the lead and sat with representatives from Royal Centre for Disease Control, Royal Bhutan Police, Judiciary, BAFRA, National Soil Center, JDWNRH and other relevant agencies attending the meeting.

Lyonchhen said the medico-legal aspect of forensic lab require it to be autonomous.

“An investigating or a regulating agency cannot become the parent agency for forensic labs because there could be conflict of interest,” he said. “It cannot be under the government too, who knows?” the PM said.

With the consolidation of all the labs under one roof, there was also a potential to be a reference lab and the center of excellence in the region.

A task force formed will submit recommendations to the government by the end of the month.

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