A Bhutanese female student in Japan is hospitalised at Fukuoka City’s East Medical Centre since September 11 where she was diagnosed with meningitis tuberculosis.

Following the diagnosis she was referred to the Intensive Care Unit of the East Medical Centre from September 16. As of yesterday, she is reported to have stablisied but is still in critical condition, according to labour ministry officials who are in touch with the officials there.

The 26-year-old student was first admitted at Wajiro Hospital in Fukuoka City on August 22 with a headache and a fever.

She is one of the students who went to Japan through the Bhutan Employment Overseas (BEO) learn and earn programme.

According to BEO, the agency’s principal agent has been attending to the patient.

Managing Director of the BEO, Jurmey Tshewang along with the patient’s younger brother reached the hospital on the morning of September 19. The staff of the principal agent in Japan is also there at the moment. “Best care possible is being provided to the patient. The hospital is prestigious, renowned especially for tuberculosis treatment and care in the Fukuoka City,” he said.

He said that the labour ministry and the Japanese Embassy in New Delhi, India arranged the visa for the patient’s brother.

According to BEO’s press release, Bhutanese students in Japan collected donation for the patient that amounts to about Nu 141,000. The BEO said it has supported the patient in terms of airfare, lodge, food, and local transport among others that amount to Nu 384,000. Bhutan Centre for Japanese Studies contributed Nu 320,000. The principal agent spent Nu 77,000 in support of the patient. The press release states that the amount is likely to increase in the coming days.

Labour ministry’s director general of the Department of Employment and Human Resources (DEHR), Sherab Tenzin said the student is being treated. “The ministry is also planning to send her elder brother to attend her. We are not neglecting the issues of the student. As soon as we knew about the illness, immediate actions were initiated to help the student.”

He said the programme is not a scam as it is misunderstood and that it is meant to engage youth.  He said that in Japan however, students found it difficult because of the language. “Otherwise it is similar to working and studying in Australia and other countries.”

Sherab Tenzin said the programme is being reviewed and that the ministry is looking at deferring the loan repayment period for students in Japan. “This would give them time to study the language,” he said.

The loan that is provided for students to study and work in Japan is however on hold and the programme will be halted even though there are more applicants.

There are close to 700 Bhutanese in Japan under the learn and earn programme.

Rinchen Zangmo