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Ministry reforms health governance

In an effort to achieve the vision of the nation with the best health, the health ministry is working on strengthening health governance.

It started with restructuring of the composition of the members of a high-level committee (HLC) at the ministry level, which earlier comprised the minister, secretary and the department heads of the ministry. 

It would now have heads of the other allied agencies like the Bhutan Medical and Health Council, Drug Regulatory Authority, Bhutan Health Trust Fund, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital, Bhutan Narcotics Control Authority and Khesar Gyalpo University of Medical Sciences of Bhutan (KGUMSB) and Royal Centre for Disease Control.

Health Minister Dechen Wangmo said there was a need to reform the governance. “Earlier, the health minister’s plans and policies were looked into by the health ministry alone. Allied health is not included.”

Lyonpo said the highest decision-making body of the health needed to encompass all partners so that the HLC would be able to provide strategic directions. “We feel that once we include the allied agencies in the national governance, we will look at all the health sector policy and plans.”

Lyonpo, during the biennial health conference held in Tsirang last month,  said that it was important to bring other stakeholders on board because the decisions will have implications on all these organisations.

“Unless we bring them on board, plans may remain incomplete,” Lyonpo said. “If we implement a plan, it would have an implication on KGUMSB because that is where the human resource comes from. It also has an implication on the national referral hospital because that is where tertiary level care is delivered.”

The HLC was established in June 2009 after the directives of the 44th session of the Lhengye Zhungtshog. It instructed to institute the committee in order to delegate some of its powers to the ministries and the respective ministers.

On October 2, at the first sitting of the HLC meeting after the members were reconstituted, the members also deliberated on restructuring the composition and procedural of the human resource committee of the health ministry.

Lyonpo said human resource is also not just for the health ministry but for the whole of the nation’s human resource. “So, we wanted to see it holistically. That was the objective of our reform that was never done before.”

The HLC meeting will be conducted quarterly in a year.

Dechen Tshomo

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