Jigmi Wangdi

The upcoming Royal Centre for Infectious Diseases (RCID), slated for completion in 2027 in Gidakom, Thimphu, is poised to elevate medical services and bolster the treatment of infectious diseases across the country.

The project materialised following the signing of a Grant Agreement (G/A) between the Royal Government of Bhutan (RGoB) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) on April 16.

This agreement secures additional grants to aid in the construction of the centre.

The Royal Centre for Disease Control (RCDC) and the upcoming Royal Centre for Infectious Diseases (RCID) will serve distinct purposes.

Tomoyuki Yamada, Chief representative of the JICA Bhutan Office, highlighted that the RCID will prioritise the development of human resource capacities, facilitate the identification of infectious diseases, and provide patient care within the centre.

“The centre will be able to carry out diagnosis, treatment and hospitalisation of patients,” Tomoyuki Yamada said.

The RCID will be equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, and comprehensive clinical and public health capabilities in infectious disease prevention, control, and management.

The RCID will be a centre for excellence in providing high-quality services focused on preventing and managing infectious diseases, emerging infectious diseases, and unforeseen pandemics like Covid-19. It is envisaged to play a lead role in protecting the health of Bhutanese people.

Tomoyuki Yamada shared that other than infectious diseases, the centre will also focus on non-communicable diseases (NCD) as it is prevalent in the country.

“The NCDs are mostly lifestyle diseases which arise because of dietary habits and lack of proper exercise among the population. NCDs are not easy to control and so, we need to change the mindset of the people for this,” Tomoyuki said.

Tomoyuki Yamada added that the proper functions of the centre would have to be discussed with the Ministry of Health for now. “We have to discuss about how the centre can cooperate with the current hospitals and RCDC as well.”

He added that the RCID’s strategic importance of high-quality medical services and capacity development for controlling infectious diseases. “With the establishment of RCID, JICA believes that Bhutan’s health system will become remarkably resilient against pandemic threats and health emergencies.”

Director of the Department of Macro Fiscal and Development Finance (DMDF), Ministry of Finance, Tshering Dorji said that the RCID would be a crucial addition to Bhutan’s healthcare infrastructure, enhancing the nation’s capacity to prevent, control, and manage infectious diseases.

Tshering Dorji shared that Gidakom was chosen as the location for the centre because of the existing infectious health centres.

“Gidakom is already known as an important centre and now we are trying to enhance and strengthen it to become a more comprehensive centre, integrating the existing clinics with the new centre,” Tshering Dorji said.