From the campaign pledges and its recent pay hike, the government has made it clear that its main focus is in the social sectors of education and health.
Both, in fact, are correlated -as the first important step to good education is a healthy child with a healthy brain.
With the focus clear in terms of health care the government must work all out to enhance the quality of health care.
In all honesty, despite all the achievements, Bhutan’s health care system is there quantity wise but quality is few and far in between.
For a while, we also heard of cases of misdiagnosis and wrong medication, surgeries gone wrong, medical malpractice, rude staff, long waiting periods, poor quality equipment, doctors not coming on time and the list goes on.
The need of the hour is not diplomacy or sentiment but some hard truths and along with that some real solutions.
While the pay rise might improve the morale of medical professionals, much more needs to be done.
There seems to be a clear issue of management of medical staff where there is no proper performance supervision of the medical staff and also subsequent support for the faltering ones, while recognizing the ones doing well.
This leads to a lack of accountability where the good, average and bad are all put in one basket and given equal treatment.
There are issues around the lack of adequate training and conference opportunities, and also issues in terms of understanding between the management and professionals with the latter feeling there isn’t adequate support.
Then there are structural and infrastructure issues which the government must work on. The tough bonds might need a relook as it can discourage new entrants and demoralise existing professionals.
The health system also needs to be more patient centric and the voice and rights of patients must be protected.
Ultimately, the result of all the much needed reforms must be a health care system that not only reaches people but also provides quality care.
All the money in the world can’t buy you back good health.