Preventive, curative and rehabilitative healthcare services for everyone in the 12th plan

Enhancing a healthy and caring society will be the priority of the health ministry in the 12th five-year plan. The health sector plans to work towards creating a healthier nation by taking free, equitable and quality healthcare to everyone which includes preventive, curative and rehabilitative services.

The key result areas also include care needs for vulnerable groups such as senior citizens, child monks, and nuns, persons with disabilities and youth in conflict with law to provide targeted care services.

Some of the main challenges remain in the changing disease patterns- the onset of a triple burden of diseases and the escalating cost of delivering health care.

Taking specialized healthcare services to the needy, upgrading skills of health workers and ensuring adequate deployment, promoting Bhutan as a center of excellence for indigenous medicine in the region and curbing non-communicable diseases are identified as a strategy to overcome the ongoing challenges and achieve the priority of the 12th plan.

Other strategies also include strengthening tertiary healthcare services including referral system, strengthening healthcare services and facilities at dzongkhag and gewog level and automating and digitalizing patient information for efficient management, tracking and follow-up.

Considering the exorbitant cost in treating a patient with non-communicable disease (NCD) and high rate of NCDs, the health ministry has identified the case as one of the key challenges that need to be tackled in the 12th plan.

Communicable disease on other hand is also seen as a major concern in the health sector due to the fact that the prevalence of Multi-Drug Resistant (MDR) TB and HIV-TB co-infection is increasing while the cross border transmission is still an issue.

Sustaining healthcare and financing in the coming years with gradual phasing out of external support is seen as a challenge in the future while the issue with malnutrition and retaining good doctors and specialists is seen as another main challenge.

Five programs which are outlined in the 12th plan book to be implemented by Ministry of Health (MoH) are programs on governance, health workforce and financing which are aimed to develop healthcare workforce both in numbers, skills development and improving management efficiency.

Improving access to quality tertiary healthcare services would be implemented by the national referral hospital while strengthening medical products and regulatory services to be implemented by the drug regulatory authority.

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