Move for health special lottery earns Nu.38m
The Bhutan Health Trust Fund (BHTF) had printed 300,000 lottery tickets. Of the total earnings of Nu.38 m, over Nu.10 m was spent on awarding the cash prizes.
The special lottery is a part of the Bhutan Health Trust Fund’s initiative to double the fund from over Nu.1.5 B to Nu.3 B by the end of this year.
Besides lottery earnings, the BHTF received Nu.500 m from the government. The amount is part of the matching contribution to the US$10m that the Asian Development Bank (ADB) will provide to the fund.
Further, the Bangladeshi government has provided Nu.150 m worth of essential drugs.
Bangladesh has agreed to supply 258 essential drugs with effect from September this year.
The chairman of BHTF, health minister Tandin Wangchuk said that the capital fund of BHTF grew steadily over the years and the target capital of US$24 m was achieved towards the end of 2009.
However, minister said that the continued appreciation of US$ against the ngultrum had its toll on BHTF capital Fund. “It began to slide down in US$ terms and when I took over as the chairman of the BHTF management board in 2013, although the capital fund was Nu.1.24 B, in dollar terms, it was equivalent to slightly over 19m, way short of the initial target of US$24 m.”
The chairman of Korea-Bhutan Friendship Association, William Lee said that no one should go bankrupt when they get sick and insurance, everyone’s dollar invested in health can produce nine to 20 dollars in full income close by 2035. Health is our right, it’s not a privilege. Excess to equality health care should never depend on where you live, how much money you make or your race, gender or age.
Further, with the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh providing about Nu.150 m worth of essential drugs and similarly, Korea-Bhutan Friendship would provide Nu.50 m and in addition to that, essential drugs donation worth of US$50,000.
With all these contributions, the fund capital of BHTF will be increased to Nu.3.3 b, it works out to roughly US$51 m and indeed it is a significant achievement, said the health minister.
Prime Minister, Dasho Tshering Tobgay said that “What is important to our citizen most important is our health. If our health is not good, no matter how much wealth we have, no matter how many job vacancies there is, we cannot stay happy. To keep our health well medication is very important.” He said that health is the most important asset for everyone.
He said that in 2017 alone, 1500 people were referred to India for medicinal referral purposes for which about Nu.200 m were spent. Amongst them, Bhutan referred 555 cancer cases.
He added that Bhutan now has started radio therapy for cancer patients and in the last one month has been treating about 15 people. He further said that a cancer hospital will be built in Bhutan too.
Prime minister added that in 2017, 20 kidney transplant cases were referred to India. In the last 3 years, over 100 kidney transplant cases were referred to India.
He said that with the command and grace of His Majesty The King, the kidney transplant operation service will start in the country soon. He shared that the doctors have been trained; equipments procured and places identified.
Prime minister said that the BHTF instituted by His Majesty The Fourth King in 2000 to facilitate free basic medical amenities for all times to come is a welfare (Kidu) entrusted to us by our Monarchs.
It was established in 2003 to sustain primary health care through continued and uninterrupted supply of essential drugs, vaccines, needles, and syringes among others.
Since 2003, the BHTF spent over Nu.700m on essential drugs and vaccines. A total of Nu.192 m has been spent on buying essentials drugs and vaccines in the financial year 2017-2018 alone.
Meanwhile, Dorji Dema, 48 years old from Dorona gewog in Dagana was the winner of Nu.5 m for Move for Health Special Lottery.
She is a mother of five children and is a full time house wife. Her husband works as a farmer and till date they had been sustaining from selling modest amount of cardamom and dairy products. She bought only one lottery ticket from her daughter’s landlord in Thimphu.
She said she was on her way back from selling cardamom in Phuentsholing. She never expected that the one ticket would be the winning ticket and at the back of her mind she always thought that people like her should not be dreaming of winning lottery.
When the result was declared on 5th February, her daughter shared the news of her lottery winning the first prize. She just couldn’t believe and she said she was still in disbelief until she reached Bhutan Lottery Limited office in Phuentsholing. Her daughter Sonam Lhamo who accompanied her to claim the prize informed Bhutan Lottery Limited officials that she has no expectations of any share from the winning amount. She said that her mother totally deserves for all the hardships she has gone through in raising her and her other siblings. Dorji Dema said that she would first like to liquidate the house loan she had availed to construct their house at Dagana and added that she wants to construct a Mani Dungkhor at her home and invest in her children’s future.
Dorji Dema, 48 years from Dorona gewog in Dagana is the lucky winner of Nu. 5m