Al­co­hol re­lated deaths re­main high in Trashigang

Business Bhutan - - Nation - Jigme Wangchen from Trashigang

The num­bers of al­co­hol re­lated deaths recorded by the Trashigang hos­pi­tal have al­most re­mained the same for the past three con­sec­u­tive years.

10 deaths were recorded in 2016 due to al­co­hol. The num­ber of death cases re­mained the same in 2017. And till Novem­ber this year, five men and five women suc­cumbed to al­co­hol re­lated dis­eases.

The Dzongkhag Health Of­fi­cer (DHO) of Trashigang, Gang Dorji, said the main fac­tor for the high al­co­hol re­lated cases was due to the easy avail­abil­ity of al­co­hol.

“Peo­ple are very ir­re­spon­si­ble, to­day a 10 –year-old child can get al­co­hol from a bar,” he said.

“This, in the long run, can have se­vere im­pli­ca­tion on our so­ci­ety,” he said, adding that al­co­hol is not only costly to the in­di­vid­ual who con­sumes it, but also a big bur­den to the so­ci­ety.

Since drink­ing al­co­hol is still con­sid­ered a so­cial norm in the east­ern part of the coun­try, this ac­cord­ing to the hos­pi­tal, could also be the rea­son for the in­creas­ing num­ber of al­co­hol re­lated pa­tients. Apart from treat­ing the pa­tients, the hos­pi­tal also pro­vides coun­sel­ing to them.

Health of­fi­cials con­duct cam­paigns against al­co­hol and its ill ef­fects on a yearly ba­sis.

“In or­der to re­duce al­co­hol re­lated cases, we visit ev­ery vil­lage in the gewogs and sen­si­tize peo­ple on the ef­fects of al­co­hol,” Gang Dorji said.

Even at the na­tional level, al­co­hol con­tin­ues to be the top killer with more than 100 deaths due to al­co­hol and al­co­hol re­lated dis­eases ev­ery year. Trashigang dis­trict records one of the high­est num­bers of al­co­hol re­lated health cases in the coun­try ev­ery year.

Health of­fi­cials said if a per­son can stop drink­ing al­co­hol be­fore their liver gets dam­aged, the chances of re­cov­ery are very high, but once their liver is com­pletely dam­aged, the chances of re­cov­ery are min­i­mal.

Most of the pa­tients say that they do not re­al­ize the ill ef­fects of al­co­hol un­til they get sick.

An al­co­hol pa­tient, San­gay, said that he did not re­al­ize how harm­ful al­co­hol is to health un­til he was ad­mit­ted to the hos­pi­tal.

“I am happy that I could stop drink­ing now. To­day, I want to live even if it is for a day,” he said.

Ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Pol­icy and Strate­gic Frame­work to re­duce harm­ful use of al­co­hol (2015-20), the per capita adult (15 years) pure al­co­hol con­sump­tion among Bhutanese was 8.47 liters, which is higher than the global av­er­age of 6.2 liters.

It was also found that drink­ing among the Bhutanese is not only per­va­sive but those who drink con­sumed al­co­hol in a haz­ardous man­ner in­volv­ing heavy episodic drink­ing, which is de­scribed as more than six stan­dard drinks on any oc­ca­sion.

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