Zero disruption in the normal health services including vaccines: Health Minister

In collaboration with His Majesty’s Kidu Unit, the Ministry of Health (MoH) has set targets to protect the vulnerable sections of the population in the country.

As the epidemiology change happens, it becomes very critical to protect the vulnerable population that includes the elderly population and population with co-morbidities said the Health Minister Dechen Wangmo. Therefore, the ministry has done a line-listing in all the 20 dzongkhags.

As per the ministry’s record, there are 53,000 elderly population with the contact information and their whereabouts. The ministry has also done separate line-listing in four thromdes and there are 7,006 elderly population.

During the Meet-the-Press, Health Minister said the ministry has also been working closely with Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) providing services to people with comorbidities. The government is also working on establishing network to provide the services, if in case the country goes into a lockdown.

As of now, there are 4,800 people with comorbidities. There are people who are bedridden in some dzongkhags and the ministry has already started providing services at home, based on certain criteria and priorities.

Lyonpo said the whole idea is to avoid disruption in the normal health services if in case the country goes to a lockdown. So services such as, vaccination, prescription refill, access to their medicines on a regular bases, getting a regular checkup and also immunization.

Bhutan, in general, has invested a huge amount of resources on a very good primary health care system said the minister.

“We want that to be protected. Even amidst COVID-19 lockdown, we anticipate that these services will be provided to our people with no disruptions. Prime Minister has been emphasizing that there should be zero disruption on the normal regular services,” said Lyonpo.

The ministry has also stocked up all the essential medicines in all the 20 dzongkhags, and stocked up of all the essential medicines for nine months as of now. They are also working very closely with the partners, such as UNICEF, to continue with the immunization programs.

The ministry has also received few queries on immunization for pregnant mothers and infants during COVID-19 situation. Lyonpo said there are certain level of fears coming to hospitals. Lyonpo requested that all should get the immunization services and if there are problems, the ministry is there to provide services.

Most of the CSOs are continuing the line-listing and hoping to get done in weeks. By then there will be a comprehensive listing of elderly population and population with comorbidities in the country.

Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering said even in the post-COVID-19 phase, the government will continue doing this.

As for the stock on the essential medicines, Lyonchhen said two months have already passed, and there has been no issue with regular supply of medicines although there have been cases of disruption in supply chain.

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