Min­istry of health launches three new vac­cines

Bhutan Times - - Home - Sonam Pen­jor

Com­mem­o­rat­ing the aus­pi­cious oc­ca­sion of the 28th Birth An­niver­sary of Her Majesty The Gyalt­suen, the Min­istry of Health launched three new vac­cines: pneu­mo­coc­cal, ro­tavirus and in­fluenza ( flu) last Mon­day by the Prime Min­is­ter.

The new vac­cines are a ges­ture of kind­ness and gift by Her Majesty to the Bhutanese chil­dren, pregnant women and el­derly pop­u­la­tion. It is a sym­bol of Her Majesty’s un­fal­ter­ing care and sup­port for the Bhutanese peo­ple from all walks of life.

How­ever, rou­tine ad­min­is­tra­tion of these vac­cines would be­gin from Jan­uary 2019.

Health min­is­ter, Ly­onpo Tandin Wangchuk said pneu­mo­nia, di­ar­rheal dis­ease and menin­gi­tis con­tinue to harm our chil­dren. Pneu­mo­nia ac­counts for 27.8 per­cent, di­ar­rhea 13 per­cent and menin­gi­tis five per­cent of child deaths in Bhutan.

“Pneu­mo­coc­cal and ro­tavirus vac­cines, which will be ad­min­is­tered an­nu­ally to about 14000 chil­dren un­der one year of age, would go a long way in re­duc­ing child­hood mor­bid­ity and mor­tal­ity trans­lat­ing to im­proved In­fant mor­tal­ity Rate ( IMR) and Un­der 5 Mor­tal­ity Rate ( U5MR).”

Ly­onpo added that, In­fluenza ( flu) vac­cine is be­ing in­tro­duced to high risk groups as pre­ven­tive health mea­sure against sea­sonal in­fluenza to re­duce ill­ness, com­pli­ca­tions and deaths among chil­dren un­der 5 years of age, pregnant women, el­derly per­sons, per­sons with chronic health con­di­tions and health work­ers.

The Bhutan Health Trust Fund will meet the cost of these vac­cines es­ti­mated at Nu. 93.31M an­nu­ally.

The two vac­cines are be­ing in­tro­duced for our se­nior cit­i­zens; pneu­mo­coc­cal and in­fluenza vac­cines, added the Ly­onpo.

His Ho­li­ness the Je Khenpo had ear­lier made a kind and gen- er­ous gift of Nu. 10M to the Bhutan Health Trust Fund. This con­tri­bu­tion would meet the vac­cine in­tro­duc­tion cost es­ti­mated at Nu. 9.24M while the rou­tine ( an­nual) costs will be sub­se­quently met from the Bhutan Health Trust Fund.

The Min­istry of Health will ad­min­is­ter vac­cines to all se­nior cit­i­zens above 70 years. The vac­cines will also be ad­min­is­tered to other adults 65+ years based on valid med­i­cal rea­sons.

On the same day, the Min­istry of Health of­fi­cially took the Health Emer­gency Op­er­a­tion Cen­ter ( HEOC) from World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion ( WHO).

The HEOC will func­tion as a cen­ter for co­or­di­na­tion, com­mu­ni­ca­tion and re­source shar­ing dur­ing emer­gen­cies and dis­as­ters.

Di­rec­tor of pub­lic health de­part­ment, Dr. Karma Lhazeen said that the launch­ing of three new vac­cines and the open­ing of health emer­gency op­er­a­tion cen­tre could not have found more im­por­tant than that day.

“We the peo­ple of Bhutan are to­tally blessed and grate­ful to our beloved King and the Royal fam­ily of Bhutan for gift­ing us free health care for all times.”

In adding that the Di­rec­tor added that launch­ing of two new vac­cines ex­pected to im­prove the life ex­pectancy of the peo­ple fur­ther.

While the new vac­cine for un­der one chil­dren are ex­pected to help us to fur­ther re­duce in­ci­dences of pneu­mo­nia, di­ar­rheal dis­eases and menin­gi­tis and this con­trib­utes to fur­ther re­duc­tion of in­fant and un­der five chil­dren deaths.

Dur­ing the in­au­gu­ra­tion of the HEOC , WHO Bhui­tan Rep­re­sen­ta­tive, Dr. Rui Paulo De Je­sus said that dur­ing the year 2015, when Nepal was hit by an earth­quake that claimed more than 9000 lives, in­jured more than twice the fig­ure and de­stroyed struc­tures.

Dr. Rui said that Bhutan also lies on highly seis­mic zone and is sus­cep­ti­ble to en­vi­ron­men­tal health chal­lenges in­duc­ing by cli­mate change that in­cludes flood, trig­gered by glacial out­burst and tor­ren­tial rains are con­stant con­cerns.

“This ne­ces­si­ties pre­pared­ness on the part of Bhutanese health sys­tem should nat­u­ral calami­ties strike.”

Re­al­iz­ing this and learn­ing from the ex­pe­ri­ence, WHO rec­om­mends health emer­gency op­er­a­tion cen­tre as a crit­i­cal man­age­ment in­fras­truc­ture for both de­liv­ery of pub­lic health func­tion and mon­i­tor­ing ad­e­quate re­sponse dur­ing emer­gen­cies.

Mean­while, this HEOC is equipped with com­mu­ni­ca­tion fa­cil­i­ties in­clud­ing video con­fer­enc­ing, VHF ra­dios, satel­lite phones, cam­eras, Broad­band Global Area Net­work. It can be pow­ered by gen­er­a­tor and so­lar en­ergy sys­tems. Other of­fice ameni­ties are also in­cluded in­side, such as com­put­ers, print­ers, chargers and fur­ni­ture to fa­cil­i­tate the smooth func­tion­ing of the HEOC.

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