BHTF to fi­nance of es­sen­tial drugs and vac­cines

Bhutan Times - - Home - Sonam Pen­jor

With the launched of fi­nanc­ing of es­sen­tial drugs and vac­cines last Wed­nes­day, now Bhutan Health Trust Fund ( BHTF) will be re­spon­si­ble for the fi­nanc­ing of 475 es­sen­tial drugs and vac­cines which in­cludes 381 al­lo­pathic and 94 tra­di­tional medicines to the health cen­ters in the coun­try.

This was due to the im­prove­ment in the so­cio-eco­nomic sta­tus and likely donor with­drawal, the gov­ern­ment will have to be in a strong po­si­tion to pro­tect the past gains and self sus­tain the pri­mary health care ser­vices.

Since its in­cep­tion of BHTF in 2003, it has sup­ported in the pro­cure­ment of vac­cines in­clud­ing the na­tion­wide in­tro­duc­tion of measlesrubella (MR) vac­cines.

Start­ing financial year 2014-2015, BHTF started fi­nanc­ing es­sen­tial drugs and will con­tinue at all times to come. The cost of es­sen­tial drugs was Nu. 182mil­lion, the amount is es­ti­mated to in­crease by about 10-20 per­cent an­nu­ally. This year, the BHTF will spend Nu.220 mil­lion for the pro­cure­ment of es­sen­tial drugs and Nu.14million on Pen­tava­lent vac­cines.

“As the na­tion cel­e­brates our vi­sion­ary Fourth Druk Gyalpo’s 60th birth an­niver­sary this year, we are proud that Bhutan Health Trust Fund has started to fund es­sen­tial 475 es­sen­tial drug and vac­cine from the last financial year”, said Ly­onpo Tandin Wangchuk, the Min­is­ter for health. “This achieve­ment in self re­liance in es­sen­tial drugs and vac­cines is a spe­cial trib­ute to His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo on his 60th birth an­niver­sary”.

Ly­onpo added that, “The Bhutanese health­care sys­tem is a pre­dom­i­nantly fi­nanced and pro­vided by the gov­ern­ment. All Bhutanese are en­ti­tled free ac­cess to health ser­vices”. “The over­all health of the peo­ple has im­proved as in­di­cated by in­creased life ex­pectancy, im­proved child sur­vival rates and de­cline in ma- ter­nal mor­tal­ity rates”.

“We have been en­joy­ing free health care ser­vices as a re­sult of the vi­sion and hard work of our beloved mon­archs and lead­ers” said the Ly­onpo Dam­cho Dorji, the act­ing Prime Min­is­ter. “Based on the tenets of Pri­mary Health Care, Bhutan has a func­tional health care sys­tem pro­vid­ing ac­cess to all Bhutanese ir­re­spec­tive of their so­cio-eco­nomic back­ground. Now, it is our re­spon­si­bil­ity to en­sure that the fu­ture gen­er­a­tions en­joy this same priv­i­lege”.

“Es­sen­tial drugs and vac­cines are rec­og­nized as the foundation for nearly ev­ery pub­lic health pro­gram aimed at re­duc­ing mor­bid­ity and mor­tal­ity in the de­vel­op­ing world”. “Lack of ac­cess to es­sen­tial drugs and vac­cines due to financial rea­sons is re­garded as a hu­man right is­sue now. Bhutan has al­ways been mind­ful of this ba­sic hu­man right. Ac­cess to es­sen­tial drugs and vac­cines alone is not enough. Proper man­age­ment and ra­tio­nal use of es­sen­tial drugs and vac­cines is very im­por­tant and Bhutan has al­ways ac­corded ut­most im­por­tance to it”, added the Ly­onpo Dam­cho.

A fund­ing gap is ex­pected from 2018 and may in­crease sig­nif­i­cantly from 2019 mostly due to the in­tro­duc­tion of new vac­cines and new drugs in the es­sen­tial drug list.

To re­sponds chal­lenges and the ex­pected in­creased de­mand for new vac­cines and medicine, ac­cord­ing to the re­view re­port 2015 of BHTF, stated that a re­source mo­bi­liza­tion strat­egy and a roadmap for the next ten years and be­yond have been de­vel­oped.

“In the spirit of the Royal Char­ter, the BHTF Roadmap 2016-2025 aims at set­ting up a ro­bust gov­er­nance struc­ture and func­tions that is ef­fec­tive and ef­fi­cient in man­ag­ing the BHTF in­vest­ment and pro­grams that en­sures sus­tain­abil­ity of qual­ity pri­mary health care ser­vices to the peo­ple of Bhutan in the years to come”, stated the re­port.

Mean­while, the im­pact made by the BHTF was that al­though the fi­nanc­ing was very small but the ben­e­fit has been wide­spread. Ac­cord­ing to the re­port, it shows that dur­ing the year 2004, 90 per­cent and 2013, 96 per­cent of the in­fant were given Hep­ati­tis B vac­cine. The im­pact was that en­hanced dis­ease im­mu­nity of the chil­dren and so­ci­ety in­creased.

Dur­ing the year 2013, the cov­er­age of pen­tava­lent vac­cine cov­er­age was 96 per­cent. Due to this, the in­fant mor­tal­ity rate death per 1000 live birth de­creased from 40.1 in 2005 to 30.0 in 2012, sim­i­larly mor­tal­ity rates un­der 5 deaths per 1000 live birth de­creased from 61.5 in 2005 to 37.3 in 2012.

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