While the health ministry has initially planned to start the programme, Accelerating Mother and Child Health – 1,000 Day Plus in August, health minister Dechen Wangmo at the Friday Meet yesterday said that the project would start as soon as they avail budget for it.

With the programme, she said, the government wants to take care of a child from the day the child is conceived until the child goes to school. “The programme’s blueprint is ready but the ministry is waiting for resources.”

Lyonpo said that the irony of the 12th Plan was that when the new government took office, there were no extra resources. “As the ministry of health, we have the biggest responsibility to mobilise recourses for this as well,” she said. “Explicitly, we haven’t indicated a timeline because we have no resources at the moment but we are not saying that this is something that we are not going to implement,” Lyonpo said. “The moment we get the resources, we want to implement it.” 

She said the ministry has already reached out to their partners for support and personally trying to mobilise resources. Implementing the programme would cost the government about Nu 238.97 million annually and about Nu 1.19 billion for five years.  

The programme’s main objective is to safeguard the health of vulnerable pregnant women and mothers who have recently given birth or are breastfeeding, as well as that of the infants through the coverage of quality maternal and child health services.

The MCH (mother and child health) clinics will be the main delivery platform to implement the programme

The ministry is targeting to implement the programme this year. “Given the choice, I would like to start tomorrow because this has a huge bearing on how we bring up a child and how we empower the future generation,” she said. “We are praying and hoping that we start as soon as possible.”

Dechen Tshomo