Walk for a noble cause

Bhutan Times - - Editorial -

A s we took part in the Move for health walk yes­ter­day two things are very im­por­tant re­lated to this walk, firstly the walk was with a theme “Health is Wealth” and sec­ondly to com­mem­o­rate the Move for Health Walk 2002

The first walk took place on 25th Septem­ber to 10th Oc­to­ber from Tashigang to Thim­phu lead by the then Health Min­is­ter, Ly­onpo San­gay Ngedup and raised al­most USD 2 mil­lion.

Since its es­tab­lish­ment 15 years ago, BHTF spent more than Nu.420 mil­lions on Es­sen­tial Drugs and Vac­cines. In the fi­nan­cial year 2016-17, to­tal of Nu. 236 mil­lions have been al­lo­cated for the same.

Tak­ing into ac­count the well-be­ing of the peo­ple in gen­eral and women and chil­dren in par­tic­u­lar and above all, the sus­tain­abil­ity of pri­mary health care led to the ini­ti­a­tion of the Bhutan Health Trust Fund some­time dur­ing 1997. It was for­mally launched on 12 May 1998 at the WHO Head­quar­ters in Geneva.

The main ob­jec­tive of the health trust fund is to help sus­tain pri­mary health care through con­tin­ued and un­in­ter­rupted sup­ply of es­sen­tial drugs and vac­cines, nee­dles, syringes, cold chain equip­ment and other re­lated drugs and equip­ment, to help elim­i­nate fi­nanc­ing un­cer­tain­ties for pri­or­ity core com­po­nents of the pri­mary health care ser­vices out of the in­come gen­er­ated from the in­vest­ment of the fund and to help achieve self-re­liance in the pri­mary health care sec­tor. The fund en­vis­ages an in­vest­ment to gen­er­ate suf­fi­cient re­turns to meet all an­nual ex­pen­di­ture on es­sen­tial drugs and vac­cines and help elim­i­nate fi­nanc­ing un­cer­tain­ties for pur­chase of these cru­cial com­po­nents and other re­lated drugs and equip­ment.

The cap­i­tal­iza­tion of the fund is done through con­tri­bu­tions from donor coun­tries, or­ga­ni­za­tions of pri­vate and pub­lic sta­tus, fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions and in­di­vid­u­als. It is based on the prin­ci­ple of one-to-one part­ner­ship. Any donor con­tri­bu­tion to the fund is matched by the gov­ern­ment of on a one-to-one ba­sis. This prin­ci­ple am­ply demon­strates the firm com­mit­ment of the gov­ern­ment for the devel­op­ment and suc­cess of the fund to sus­tain pri­mary health care. The ini­tial tar­get of the fund is to mo­bi­lize US$ 24.00 mil­lion, cur­rently the fund stands at ap­prox­i­mately USD 21.9 mil­lion.

From 2016 on­wards, af­ter the with­drawal of GAVI sup­port, the Health Trust Fund will spend about USD 122,000 an­nu­ally on the pro­cure­ment of pen­tava­lent vac­cine alone. Af­ter its ten years of op­er­a­tion, it is a great re­sult for Health Trust Fund to sup­port such fun­da­men­tal pri­mary care ser­vices.

With most of donor coun­tries with­draw­ing the sup­port and pro­vid­ing free care be­com­ing a daunt­ing task for the gov­ern­ment, con­sider health is wealth and con­trib­ute what­ever you can for sus­tain­ing free health care sys­tem in the coun­try.

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