Health Secretary Highlights Steps to Ending Tuberculosis and Commitment to Climate Change Adaptation

Dasho Dr Ugyen Dophu, Secretary, Ministry of Health and Ms Sonam Yangchen, Planning Officer, Ministry of Health, Royal Government of Bhutan at HLP and SPPDM

From 10-14 July 2017, the Secretary of the Ministry of Health of Bhutan, Dasho Dr Ugyen Dophu, chaired two important meetings for future work in the field of health in the South-East Asia Region that were held in New Delhi, India: the High-Level Preparatory Meeting (HLP) for the WHO Regional Committee from 10–13 July 2017, followed by the Subcommittee on Policy and Programme Development and Management (SPPDM) on 14 July 2017. The Bhutanese delegation tabled climate change adaptation, steps towards ending tuberculosis and various other issues.

Climate Change Adaptation
During the HLP the Regional Framework Action for Climate Change was finalized. The Secretary, representing the Royal Government of Bhutan, stressed that the country fully supports both the Male Declaration on Building Health Systems Resilience to Climate Change and the Framework for Action in Building Health Systems Resilience to Climate Change.

Ending Tuberculosis by 2030
Earlier in 2017, the Ministry of Health had already joined the global community in committing to ending Tuberculosis by 2030. The Secretary now announced to the HLP forum the concrete steps that Bhutan has already taken in this direction, by aligning its national strategic plans and national guidelines to the global End-TB Strategy. As per the milestones in the strategy, Bhutan aims to reduce Tuberculosis (TB) deaths in absolute numbers by 55% and the TB incidence rate by 35% by the end of 2022, the last year of the 12th Five Year Plan (FYP) of Bhutan.

In addition, access to medicines, vector control, polio eradication, antimicrobial resistance, measles elimination and rubella control, patient safety and the South-East Asia Regional Health Emergency Fund (SEARHEF) were other issues deliberated on by the delegation from Bhutan.

During the SPPDM, the delegation from Bhutan also informed the floor on the initiation of development of the 12th FYP and the alignment of the Draft WHO Country Office Plan Budget for 2018 and 2019 with the Guiding Principles of the 12th FYP, the WHO Country Cooperation Strategy and the Sustainable Development Goals.