Bhutan

Time to change health focus

Sep 2, 2017
The bomb is going off. And we are talking about reforms. Reforms are good. What is bad about reforms in any system is that they take time. So we talk about bureaucratic inefficiency. The civil servants automatically become sad because they are at the heart of the system. Particularly this day, we are talking about the health of the nation.
 
Let us talk about lifestyle diseases.  We need to. We get carried away by some strange diseases every now and then and shut our borders even to protect our citizen. Such initiatives are laudable. But we fail to look at how our people are living all the while.
 
Lifestyle diseases have already become the major contributor to health cost in the country. As the nation develops, more such diseases will claim our health cost. In 2010 and 2011, referral cost was 5.37 percent of the total health expenditure, which amounts to Nu 122 million. In 2014, the expenditure increased to Nu184.5M. This is expected to only grow.
 
According to a 2016 health report, there are 12, 120 diabetic cases in the country. The number may look small, but the number is drawn only from the reported cases.
 
Setting up health facilities and providing them with enough staff is just one way to look at the problem. More health facilities and staff will certainly go a long way in making health services accessible to the people. But there is much more we need to and can do. As accessible as we must make our health facilities, we need to encourage change in the way we live.
 
Who has done a study of how lazy we as a society has become?
 
Let us go back to our tradition. As mountain people, our dietary habits have not been the most sensible. Now with the availability of choices, we have come to adopt the worst. Food with high concentration of fat is our choice. We start our day with suja, carry on with sikkamlunch and end with equally risky course. In between, we have alcohol and other harmful intoxicants.
 
The time has come for our health system to change the focus. Services should and will always be there. How healthy we are living is more important. Setting up small open gyms here and there has not helped. In come places, the gyms have become jungles.
 
Kuensel Online, September 2, 2017

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