The first nationwide high-level advocacy tour led by Her Majesty Gyalyum Sangay Choden Wangchuck, UNFPA Goodwill Ambassador, concluded on 28th December, with the last leg of programme in Thimphu.
Her Majesty accompanied by Her Royal Highness Princess, Euphelma Choden Wangchuck, carried out the programme from 24th to 28th December meeting with more than 6,000 people from Thimphu’s eight gewogs and thromde, meeting drivers and armed force officials along with their families to sensitise them on health and social issues. Her Majesty also met with the organisations from drayangs and film industry.
The nationwide high-level advocacy tour began in September last year in Dagana, Tsirang and Sarpang. The programme was the continuation of Her Majesty’s advocacy efforts to promote awareness on priority public health issues like safe motherhood, adult and adolescent reproductive health, substance abuse, STD/HIV/AIDS and suicide prevention according to the health ministry.
Officials from the health ministry, RENEW, Lhak-Sam and National Commission for Women and Children also created awareness on various health and social issues as part of the programme.
The tour which reached out to around 22,000 people, 15,422 teachers and students and 8,757 armed force personnel and families across the country is said to be one of the most successful advocacy programme according to Head of Health Promotional Division, Dorji Phub.
He said the biggest achievement was the institutionalization and mainstreaming of MSTF-CBSS in the dzongkhag reaching out to the gewog and chiwog level. He added that alcohol is the main issue causing the public health problems from what was learnt during the tour programme.
The advocacy was targeted to the local government leaders, schools, institutions, vulnerable groups, project sites, religious communities, local communities, and armed forces where Her Majesty also met with the members of multi-sectoral task force and community-based support support system (MSTF-CBSS).
The tour aimed at seeking support of local government, community and institutes in tackling public health and social issues and to review the status of Multi-Sectorial Task Force and Community Based Support System (CBSS- RENEW).
The tour carried out sensitization on priority communicable and non-communicable diseases, comprehensive school health program and advocacy on Respect, Educate, Nurture and Empower Women (RENEW) and National Commission for Women and Children (NCWC) and LHAKSAM.
“The tour was a good opportunity for the health ministry and the health promotion division to design target advocacy intervention in future as we understood each dzongkhag has a different issues,” Dorji Phub said.
The report on advocacy tour will be released a month later after which the health ministry will work on collaborating with dzongkhag health administrations to reach out basic public health needs in all gewogs and chiwogs.