Get walking for essential drugs and vaccines

The Annual Health Walk 2015 will be historical and significant as the government is formally launching the “Financing of Essential Drugs & Vaccines” through Bhutan Health Trust Fund (BHTF). The launch is a special tribute to His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, on His Majesty’s 60th Birth Anniversary.

The walk will be held on October 11 with the theme, “Lead Healthy Lifestyles: Reduce Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD)”. NCD is being highlighted as it reduces the quality of life and creates extra pressure on financing of health care.

“One way of helping BHTF is by leading a healthy lifestyle because, if people are healthy, they will not get sick, thereby reducing burden on financing of health care services, which is same as donating,”  Investment Officer, BHTF, Dawa Gyaltshen added.

BHTF is vitally important for Bhutan as it ensures for the timely availability of essential drugs, vaccines and logistics. These components are critical for delivery of primary health care services.

Dawa Gyeltshen, said, “By contributing to BHTF, you will ensure sustained delivery of basic free health services as enshrined in the Constitution of the Kingdom of Bhutan.”

Meanwhile, BHTF will be inviting the past donors (both within and outside the country) to be part of the event. The donations made to BHTF are tax deductible.

As of 30 June 2012, BHTF has received approximately USD 17.3 mn from both the national and international donors.

“Currently we have Nu 1.3 bn, and it has been invested in local capital market, like in banks, insurance, etc. from where we get yearly return with which we finance on primary health care,” the investment office, BHTF, added.

BHTF has approximately financed vaccines and equipment worth Nu 32 mn and has financed essential drugs worth Nu172 mn in 2014 to 2015 for the whole country.

“Until last year, the Pentavalent vaccines were financed by GAVI, but starting 2016 we are the sole financer since GAVI is withdrawing and it is going to cost Nu 14 mn in 2016,” said Dawa Gyaltshen, adding that the estimated cost of essential drugs for 2015 to 2016 is Nu 220 mn.

BHTF uses its fund for the purchase of essential drugs and vaccines only.

The health walk on October 11 will start from the Royal Thimphu College and end at the Clock Tower square in Thimphu. Free bus services will be provided by the Bhutan Post from 6am to 7 am on the day, and there will be buses on the move after every 5 minutes for the public who are interested to join the health walk.

His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo granted the Royal Charter to establish BHTF in August 2000 to ensure free healthcare in a sustainable manner.

Dawa Gyeltshen said, “The whole nation is enjoying the fruits of the initiative, and therefore, BHTF dedicates its success to His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo.”

The program will be continued thereafter until October 14.

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