The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has provided a grant of USD 35M for health sector development and expanding technical and vocational education system in the country.

The grant agreements were signed between the finance minister and ADB’s Country Director yesterday.

The grant of USD 20M will be used for health sector development programme. The project spanning over five years is expected to foster equitable access to health facilities besides enhancing the efficiency of service delivery.

The project aims to advance Bhutan’s health security agenda through strategic support for prevention and control of infectious diseases in line with Bhutan’s commitments to the international health regulations.

Half of the total grant for the health sector (USD 10M) will be pumped into the Bhutan Health Trust Fund to ensure sustainability of free basic health services.

Finance minister Namgay Tshering said the government recognises good health of its citizens as a prerequisite for greater economic and social development, poverty reduction and road to happiness,

Another grant of USD 15M is specifically for a project called Skills Training and Education Pathway Up gradation Project  (STEP UP). This grant will assist the government’s efforts towards upgrading and expanding the technical and vocational education training (TVET) system to suit the modern needs and equip youth with job-oriented skills. The labour and education ministries will jointly implement this project spanning over a period of seven years beginning this year.

“The ADB is extremely pleased that through these grant we will be able to support the government’s initiatives to invest in social sectors,” The ADB’s director general of South Asia Department, Hun Kim said.

He said that these projects align well with ADB’s corporate strategy-strategy 2030-that prioritises human development and social inclusion, improving education and training, achieving better health.

Finance Minister, Namgay Tshering highlighted that the country has developed a blueprint for TVET as a roadmap for improving the quality of vocational education. He said that this project would assist the government in enhancing the capacity and relevance through reforming and modernising the TVET institutions while simultaneously benefitting the youth through better employability.

Tshering Dorji