In a major success towards a healthier future, Bhutan has eliminated rubella. The WHO’s declaration on July 21 on Bhutan’s successful elimination of rubella, a highly contagious and potentially devastating disease, marks yet another milestone for the nation’s healthcare sector.

Recognising the importance of curbing the spread of this infectious disease, our health workers worked diligently for nearly two decades against rubella. Also known as German Measles, it poses a significant threat not only to the infected individuals but also to pregnant women, as it can lead to severe complications in newborns. The irreversible birth defects caused by rubella during pregnancy are a matter of grave concern for public health. However, Bhutan’s relentless efforts to promote vaccination and create awareness have led to this success.

At the heart of Bhutan’s achievement lies the health workers including those in the far-flung villages of the country who walked days to reach the vaccine out to all people and our proactive approach towards immunization. The nation has made significant strides in ensuring that her citizens, particularly children and expecting mothers, have access to essential vaccines. Through targeted vaccination campaigns and widespread awareness programmes, Bhutan has been able to reach even the most remote communities.

The successful elimination of rubella not only highlights Bhutan’s effective healthcare system but also reflects the strong collaboration between government agencies, healthcare workers, and international organizations like WHO. We can say with confidence that this synergy of efforts has played a pivotal role in achieving this significant milestone. It is worth noting that Bhutan’s accomplishments in healthcare are not new; the nation has a history of exemplary progress in healthcare indicators, with focus on the well-being of her citizens being at the core of her policies.

Bhutan’s success in eliminating rubella is not just a national achievement; it is an inspiration to other countries in the region and beyond. It exemplifies what can be accomplished when a nation places the health and well-being of her people at the forefront of her priorities. As the world grapples with various health challenges, Bhutan’s achievement serves as a beacon of hope, reminding us that with dedication, determination, and a united effort, even the most formidable healthcare battles can be won.

While celebrating this victory, it is crucial to recognise that the journey to better healthcare does not end here. We need to continue the commitment to immunisation programmes, disease surveillance, and the enhancement of healthcare services for all its citizens. Sustaining these efforts will not only prevent the resurgence of rubella but also fortify the nation’s resilience against other preventable diseases.

We also have much more grounds to gain against much more potent killers like cancer, and the rising non-communicable diseases that are causing more pain and loss of lives by the day.