Alcohol related deaths remain high in 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.