Election 2018, the parties’ pledges on healthcare system
As the date for the 2018 primary election draws near, the parties have been outlining their manifestos for healthcare system in the country. With the launching of their manifestos, the political parties made the key manifesto pledges.
The hot-button issue of health care burst into the spotlight in election campaign in the form of promises for best care ensuring good health for all. All the parties promised to continue providing free health care services, both in modern and traditional medicine.
Their pledges include reducing waiting lists, timely health services, continuing fast-track social work training schemes to upgrade Dzongkhag hospitals with specialist services, BHUs, and strengthen human resource for healthcare.
The parties also plan to review and adopt a national health policy to ensure sustainability of free basic health care services. Besides, to establish some of the new specialist hospitals and upgrade the existing health systems are also on the agenda.
Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa:
In its election manifesto, Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) pledged to establish a separate multi-disciplinary super specialty hospital to ensure access to specialist services at gewog level, including deployment of medical doctor and ambulance services.
DNT would establish a standalone multi-disciplinary super-specialty national referral hospital to provide tertiary care in all branches of medicine for kidney transplant, cardiac surgery, comprehensive cancer treatment, nuclear medicine, fertility centre and other facilities.
The party said they would establish specialist services in strategic hospitals based on disease pattern and location.
DNT says instead of promising three doctors in every district, they would send more doctors to hospitals with higher patient load to ensure efficient service. “We will reduce waiting time in hospitals and enable you to complete your visit in the shortest time possible.”
The party ensures access
to quality health care at anytime. “We will review staff strength in all health centres, weigh it against patient load and ensure that we have enough doctors, nurses and medical staff to meet patients’ needs.”
DNT also plans to upgrade a few strategic district hospitals with specialist services for the people to avail themselves of the services within half day. To upgrade and strengthen laboratory and diagnostic facilities in all district hospitals for the patients without having go to regional and national referral hospitals are some of the pledges in the part manifesto.
Bhutan Kuen-Nyam Party:
Bhutan Kuen-Nyam Party (BKP) plans to establish one helipad in each gewog and to provide a one-time gift of Nu.5,000 for the birth of every second child.
BKP said their party would provide high quality health care for each and every Bhutanese through increased invest- ment and improved management by posting two to three doctors in every dzongkhag hospital.
The party ensures to digitize the patient information system in all hospitals using individual CID numbers for patient history enhancing faster and more efficient health care.
The party also ensures that ambulance service is dispatched within 20 minutes of the first call.
BKP has committed to improve access to quality health care with inclusive, responsive, and equitable by establishing CT scan machines in all regional hospitals and X-ray and endoscopy machines in all dzongkhag hospitals.
It has plans to strengthen preventive health care advocacy, dietary improvement, mother-child health and nutrition, traditional medicine services and promote Sowa-Rigpa in other allied sectors are some of the party’s pledges to the peoples.
Druk Phunsum Tshogpa:
Druk Phunsum Tshogpa (DPT) pledged to establish a National Dental hospital, a cancer hospital and set up cancer screening mechanism for prevention and early diagnosis.
The party plans to establish a pharmaceutical manufacturing company in Bhutan to produce essential drugs, and establish geriatric care programme and geriatric care centres.
The party pledged to improve the working conditions of medical professionals and provide on campus accommodation for essential medical staff.
It would provide three specialist doctors in bigger district hospitals including a gynecologist.
DPT said that their party would upgrade the Faculty of Nursing to college and increase the pool of nurses, and improve diagnostic services with modern diagnostic facilities in all hospitals.
It also ensures that all medical care programmes and divisions are headed by professionals with suitable qualification and skills background.
The party pledged to review and adopt a national health policy to ensure sustainability of free basic health care services in both modern and traditional medicines for all times to come are some of the tall pledges in the health sectors.
People Democratic Party:
People Democratic Party (PDP) has promised to establish a Mother and Child hospital and a Cancer hospital in Thimphu.
PDP plans to make Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH) into a ‘Super Specialist’ hospital. In particular, JDWNRH will offer tertiary services in ENT, Ophthalmology, mother and child services, organ transplant, and Oncology. To facilitate JDWNRH to become a super specialist hospital, the party said they will build one new referral hospital in Thimphu.
To enable people to avail traditional medicine services and treatment, the party would establish a National Traditional Medicine (Sowai Rigpa) hospital in Thimphu.
The party would establish kidney transplant facilities at the JDWNRH and explore the possibility of constructing a kidney transplant center.
PDP said their party will establish two additional regional referral hospitals in the country, emergency obstetrics and essential surgical trauma centers in every district hospital.
To ensure that every BHU has one doctor, two nurses and suitable number of technicians, a minimum healthcare facility and treatment services such as OT facilities for minor operations, X-ray, ultra-sound, and blood testing facilities are some of the party’s pledges in the health sector.
According to the Population and Housing Census of Bhutan 2017, Bhutan’s overall life expectancy has improved to 70.2 years from 66.3 years in 2005.
However, drastic shift in lifestyle and food consumption patterns has resulted in increasing health burden of NonCommunicable Diseases (NCD), which accounts for 60 percent of deaths in the country.