Apart from public concerns and COVID-19 interventions, the Health Minister yesterday highlighted an equally extensive shared concern of the Health Ministry which is in terms of the number of Non-Communicable Disease (NCD), which have not shown any major differences as compared to the past statistics.
She said that one of the main reasons and concern for these kinds of diseases was the alcohol consumption rate in the country, while the other reason she stated was due to improper dietary habits which she said that almost 80% of the people still were not getting the 5 meal serving nutrients as recommended by the experts.
Lyonpo said, “So in order to ensure that the Ministry of Health is carrying out mass testing in terms of blood sugar levels, blood pressure, Body Mass Index (BMI) and other health screening examinations to determine an overall health well-being of a person.”
Lyonpo said that the initial test is being considered for people from the Ministry itself and secondly the civil servant workforce is in the pipeline and gradually the screening will cover the nation’s population.
Lyonpo said “I am restating that when I talk about pap smear tests for women but I am very passionate about this and would want to ensure that pap smear test is a must for women for prevention from breast cancer.”
Lyonpo added that she was happy with the response in the villages where almost 80 % of the women turned up for the tests.
As for urban areas the Lyonpo said that although in general there may not be a higher rate for such cases, the Ministry is going to do targeted interventions starting for women in civil service and beyond.
Lyonpo said that the procedures and plans for the tests and flu vaccinations have been rolled out and people are asked to come forward for seasonal flu vaccination.
Upon being asked if there was any risk or relief associated with the change in weather, Lyonpo replied that there are no concrete evidences to conclude so far by expert scientists of the world but at the least with flu vaccinations they hope that there would not be a mix up in detecting COVID-19 and those with flu-like symptoms.
She said that if there were many people with flu or cold visiting the hospitals, there would be overcrowding and since the symptoms for COVID-19 and common cold are almost indistinguishable it would be extra time and cost implication to bear.
Lyonpo announced that currently there is a global initiative called COVAX being co-led by Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) which has pledged to provide 2 billion vaccine doses to 171 countries registered with the world alliance.
Lyonpo added that for Bhutan being a small nation and having less population we could perhaps look forward to more affirmative news.
The Health Ministry has already sanctioned directives for determining the priority population to get the vaccine dose first.
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