A component of Gross National Happiness is the affordable and accessible health care to the public. The health sector receives the highest priority in terms of budget so far.
Therefore, the most common pledge of the four parties is to enhance traditional medicine system, strengthen human resources and increase the allowance of the health workers.
Other common pledges are to provide retention of medical specialists, upgrading regional referral hospitals and providing doctors in every BHU.
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)
Reliable, quality healthcare and high standard service for all is the main agenda of PDP. At the national level, the party promises to continue providing free health care services for both modern and traditional medicine.
The manifesto highlights on making JDWNRH into a ‘Super Specialist’ hospital to offer ENT, ophthalmology, mother and childservices, organ transplant, and oncology services. To facilitate JDWNRH to become asuper specialist hospital, a new referral hospital in Thimphu would be build.
The party commits to establish kidney transplant facilities and explore the possibility of constructing a kidney transplant center.
Heath Trust Fund would be doubled to Nu 4 bn in next five years to ensure sustainability and free health service for all times to come.
The party pledges to build a mother and child hospital, a cancer hospital in and national traditional medicine hospital in Thimphu, while two additional regional hospitals in a country would also be established. The health policy and the existing health curricula of health institutes would also be reviewed. Digital health system and e-patient record management system are to be established.
At the regional level, the party promises to empower regional referral hospitals to refer patients abroad and strengthen emergency referral system to neighboring states.
MRI facilities in all the regional referral hospitals is ensured where every district hospital is to have at least one gynecologist and a medical specialist assisted by three doctors and adequate number of nurses and technicians is also guaranteed.
Meanwhile, all district hospitals and BHUs are to have the diagnostic facilities and treatment services. Other facilities, like emergency obstetrics and essential surgical trauma centers and mobile clinical unit in every district hospital are also promised in the manifesto.
Every BHU will be provided with a doctor, two nurses and suitable number of technicians and one ambulance to every gewog, to enable timely evacuation and referral of patients.
To strengthen human resource, the party promises to start MBBS program at Khesar Gyalpo University of Medical Sciences of Bhutan (KGUMSB) and enhance post-graduate specialization programs in KGUMSB.
Retention Policy for all levels of medical professionals would be developed, where the medical allowances for health professionals would be reviewed and the medical allowance for ambulance drivers would also be introduced.
Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT)
Health is the primary focus of DNT, as it commits to establish a separate multi-disciplinary super specialty hospital to cater to all out-country referrals and institute mechanisms to ensure access to specialist services at gewog level, including deployment of medical doctor and ambulance services.
The manifesto also highlights on improving working condition of health workers through better incentives,allowances and recognition of service and promote indigenous medicine system as a center of regional and global excellence.
The health service would be made convenient and ensure everyone is healthy in the country. For that, various programs would be in place to reduce the epidemic of non-communicable and lifestyle diseases.
“Provided with facilities similar to the existing JDWNRH, Mongar and Gelephug hospitals will be upgraded to provide equitable medical care across the region.” Availability of adequate medical equipment and supplies would also be ensured.
In terms of BHU, the party promises to upgrade medical care in BHUs and make specialist services available in the gewogs. “We will start upgrading facilities at BHUs by posting doctors and ensuring availability of routine blood.”
The party promises to upgrade skills and category of health workers in district hospitals and BHUs. The party also commits to build and promote indigenous medicine system as a center of regional excellence. “We would build the capacity of the faculty of traditional medicine and improve teaching and research skills to raise them to international standards.”
Other commitments offered by the party are help families care for relatives with terminal illnesses and strengthen and invest in public health programs. Nursing services would also be upgraded and improved for which a Masters program in nursing will be established and a college of nursing to be built in south.
Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT)
DPT believes in creating society for productive and happy citizens, whereby, the party pledges to expand and improve the health sector incorporating the best of the modern and traditional health practices, and promote research and capacity for prompt and effective service as a matter of priority.
The party promises to review and adopt a national health policy to ensure sustainability of free basic health care services.
Priority would be accorded pool of doctors and specialists in all areas of medical care where the party also promises to upgrade faculty of nursing to college and increase the pool of nurses.
The manifesto assures diagnostic services with modern diagnostic facilities in all hospitals and establishment of a national dental hospital and cancer hospital.
The party commits to ensure that all medical care programs and divisions are headed by professionals with suitable qualification and skills background and define the role and function of national referral hospital and teaching hospitals.
Allowances for specialist, doctors and health workers based on non-practicing allowance, specialist allowance, hazard allowance and overtime payment would be enhanced as per the party manifesto.
The institutional and professional linkages with reputed hospitals in the region and abroad is ensured. In addition, the party promises to explore avenues for retired doctors and specialists to continue their practice.
Three specialist doctors in bigger district hospitals including a gynecologist would be placed while a half-yearly basic medical check-up camps for all rural citizens is ensured. Information Education andCommunication (IEC) on NCDs and substance abuse and prevention programs would also be setup if DPT governs.
Bhutan Kuen-Nyam Party (BKP)
BKP assures to reduce the incidence of lifestyle related diseases and related health expenses for which preventive health care advocacy, dietary improvement, mother-child health and nutrition programs would be carried out.
The party aims to provide high quality health care for each and every Bhutanese through increased investment and improved management by posting 2-3 doctors in every district hospitals.
Improving access to quality health care, focus on rural health care delivery and reduce waiting time in hospitals, providing patient meals in all BHUs and staff adequately are some of the pledges for the enhancement of health system.
The party also promises to strengthen traditional medicine services and promote Sowa-Rigpain other associated sectors and support JDWNRH to provide state of the art health care services to all for free.
Digitizing the patient information system in all hospitals for faster and more efficient health care is also mentioned in the party manifesto. The party assures that the ambulance service is dispatched within 20 minutes of the first call and increase government funding for doctor and nursing scholarships.
Taking the health care system to a new level, the party also commits to provide a one-time gift of Nu 5,000 for the birth of every second child.