Move for Health Walk with ‘Invest in Health’ theme to be held on 11th October

This year will also witness the Move for Health walk on 11th October where both the Prime Minister Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay and the Health Minister Lyonpo Tandin Wangchuk will be participating.

Growth of Bhutan Health Trust Fund BHTF funds had almost come to a standstill by 2002 and in order to revive the activity, the then Minister of Health, Lyonpo Sangay Ngedup came up with the idea of a sponsored walk from Trashigang to Thimphu covering a distance of 560 Km over a period of 15½ days. The first Walk took place from 25th September to 10th October 2002 and was a huge success both in terms of raising awareness on health and funds for the BHTF. The Walk had raised almost USD 2 million bringing the BHTF a couple of steps closer to achieving its initial target.

The shorter version of the “Move for Health Walk” was an initiative of the Health Minister, Lyonpo Tandin Wangchuk to revive interest in BHTF and raise funds for it, and was conducted again from 19-20 October 2013 .This shorter version of the Walk involved 1½ days walking from Wangdue to Thimphu.

Likewise, Health Walk 2014 will take place from Khasadrapchu Middle Secondary School (Flag Off) to Thimphu, Clock Tower (Flagg in) with the theme: Move for Health; Invest in Health and with the objectives of launching the financing of Essential Drugs (fulfillment of the mandates of the Royal Charter 2000 of the Bhutan Health Trust Fund) & advocating and promoting healthy life style to prevent and control rising cost of health care delivery and enhance the quality of life.

The Health Walk Team 2014 led by His Excellency, Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay will follow the Khasadrapchu-Thimphu Highway for approximately three hours and fifteen minutes.

A release explaining the background of BHTF said that at the core of Bhutan’s development philosophy lies the physical and spiritual well-being of its people within a safe and secure environment.

“Thus, an investment in the social sector has always been accorded with the highest priority. However, the sustainabilityofpastaccomplishments and future initiatives has become a daunting challenge for Bhutan,” says the release. It says that the key concern of the government is how to enhance the accessibility and quality of Primary Health Care Services against rising costs and competing needs.

The release says that the idea of a Trust Fund presented itself as a novel and dependable alternative for financing the priority needs of vaccines, essential drugs and needles & syringes. Therefore, the Bhutan Health Trust Fund (BHTF) was established in 2000 under the Royal Charter to ensure continued and

timely supply of vaccines and essential drugs, which are crucial components of Primary Health Care. A successful operationalization further envisages covering components such as reproductive health and other essential health services.

All participants have to be at the flag off event at Khasadrapchu Middle Secondary School by 7.00 am of 11 October 2014. Logistics to ferry participants to the flag off event will be arranged by Bhutan Post. Buses will start plying from Changlimethang starting form 5.30 till 6.30. The event will include speeches by the PM and Health Minister and collection of donation at various stages.

BHTF since its operationalizationin 2003 has supported the procurement of vaccines including the nationwide introduction of Measles-Rubella (MR) vaccines. BHTF is co-financing the procurement of pentavalent vaccines with Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) since 2009. BHTF will have to take up the full financing by 2015 as Bhutan has per capita over USD 2800, which requires GAVI to pull out.

The release says that Health Trust Fund is vitally important for Bhutan to ensure timely availability of essential drugs, vaccines and logistics. These components are critical for delivery of primary health care services. By contributing to Health Trust Fund, one will ensure sustained delivery of basic free health services as enshrined in the Constitution of the Kingdom of Bhutan.

An open appeal has been made to all individuals, families, communities, foundations, organizations, countries and regions worldwide to contribute generously to Bhutan Health Trust Fund. Donations made to BHTF are tax deductible.

Contributions can be made directly at the following banks in Bhutan which are Account No. 20700220293190019 Bank of Bhutan Ltd, Account No. 5000039993022 Bhutan National Bank Ltd, Account No. 000127120030 Bhutan Development Bank Ltd Account No. 110210001267 Druk Punjab National Bank Ltd or by Cheque or demand draft payable to the Bhutan Health Trust Fund, Thimphu.

For foreigners donations to Bhutan Health Trust Fund can be made by cheque written to the Bhutan Foundation with a memo to Bhutan Health Trust Fund and the memo can be emailed to bhtf@bhtf.bt.

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