Super specialty hospital, Infectious diseases center and ENT center are coming up: Govt

Healthcare resonated deeply among the people of Bhutan in the last elections, and that can perhaps be the main factor that tipped the votes in favor of this government, states the government’s one year in office report.

Keeping in mind the plights of Bhutanese people travelling outside country to avail the high-end health services, a multi-disciplinary super-specialty hospital in Thimphu will be constructed with support of GoI to provide quality healthcare at home.

A National Center for Infectious Disease that will serve as center of excellence to strengthen the prevention, control and management of the infectious diseases in the country will be constructed at Gidakom, Thimphu with support of JICA.

To supplement the services at JDWNRH, a 20-bedded Eye Nose and Throat Center is planned with support of the Royal Thai Government. A 20-bedded district hospital for Thimphu is already initiated at Kawang with the support of GoI.

In order to ease health related issues of the growing urban population and to bring the health services closer to the people, reports states that four satellite clinics will be constructed at Debsi, Bebana, Semtokha under Thimphu and Phuntsholing Thromde with support from ADB.

Meanwhile, given the requirements in the field, frontline health workers need adequate skills and capacity, says the report, adding that the ministry facilitated training of different categories of health workers with support from WHO under the Regional Director’s flagship program.

A High Level Committee was reformed for effective executive decisions and guidance at the ministry. The membership of the committee extended to all allied health agencies to operate with a clear and concrete Rules of Procedure.

It says unique to Bhutan, is the health system that is protected by the Constitution and nurtured by the successive Monarchs. Bhutan is among a very few countries in the world that enjoy complete free health services.

Article 9 of the Constitution ensures free access to basic health services but while free, there are equity challenges due to geographic location, and socio-economic variations.

Having internalized these barriers to accessing good quality health services, the government started working towards people centric care, where Bhutanese people could avail of health services in the comfort of their own community.

“But first, the government realised the need to secure funds for the plans it brought along. While the ministry was allocated a little short of Nu 4 billion for the 12th Plan, the requirement was more than three times the amount,” states the report.

Therefore, the first year for health was also a lot more about laying foundations in terms of soliciting fund. “And it has been a successful start, with the ministry being able to secure at least 70 percent of the total budget required,” it says.

The report says they will be taking services to the people. Bhutan is the first country in the region to come out with the first strategic plan for cervical cancer, launched this year and the report said this reveals the government’s commitment to the road map towards its elimination.

Sustaining the efforts from the past, government introduced Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine into the routine immunization schedule in January, 2019 and it was especially targeted at children and the elderly.

In pursuit of taking healthcare services to the unreached sections of the population, the health ministry continues to conduct international and national surgical camps throughout the country.

In the last one year, 12 international (plastic and reconstructive surgery camps) and 71 national (Eye, ENT, Gyen/Obs) camps were held.

Given that Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) are a major public health concern in the country, and since two-thirds of the country’s overall disease burden is due to NCDs, PEN (Package of Essential Non Communicable Diseases Interventions) project has been piloted in three districts, it states.

“A green and sustainable health infrastructure enhances the quality and services to the patients, supporting in the curative process through utilizing natural resources in an efficient and environment-friendly manner,” reports states.

In addition, this is also one of the viable ways forward, given the ever-increasing cost of delivery of free healthcare services and the health equity concerns across the country. “This will enable us to optimize the efficiency and increase the quality of health services in all health facilities in the country,” says the report.

It says this concept is also well tuned with the four pillars of Gross National Happiness, the national development philosophy of Bhutan.

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