Nima Wangdi

The groundbreaking ceremony, for Royal Centre for Infectious Diseases (RCID) in Gidagom  which is expected to complete in four years, took place yesterday.

Sowai Lyonpo Dechen Wangmo, Japan’s Ambassador to Bhutan, Suzuki Hiroshi, and Opposition leader Dorji Wangdi, attended the ceremony along with other dignitaries, health ministry officials, and members of the local government.

Lyonpo Dechen Wangmo said that the 100-bedded RCID would be the first state-of-the-art hospital in the country with comprehensive and specialised clinical and public health capabilities for the prevention, control, and management of infectious diseases.

“The RCID is envisaged to play a leading role nationally and regionally in protecting the health security of Bhutanese through collaborations in the field of research,” she said.

The project is supported by the Government of Japan with 2.994 billion yen, which is equivalent to Nu 1.86 billion through the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

Ambassador Suzuki Hiroshi said that the centre would become a leading institution for the treatment of infectious diseases including Tuberculosis (TB) and Multi-Drug Resistant (MDR) TB.

“It is one of the largest grant aid and considered as Japan’s economic cooperation flagship with Bhutan,” the ambassador said, adding that the RCID would not serve just as a centre for treatment but also as a hub for human resource development.

The centre can train more than 200 interns in a year, who can serve as infectious disease doctors according to Suzuki.

The ambassador said Japan would also provide medical equipment for the centre. “RCID will play a pivotal role in preparing the country for possible new infectious diseases in the future.”

He also said that the hospital would also become one of the important landmarks of friendship between the people of Japan and Bhutan.

Lyonpo Dechen said this is another important milestone in Bhutan’s health advancement, which will have clinical and public health capacity in infectious disease prevention, control, and management.

“RCID is also envisioned to play a lead role not only in Bhutan but also in the region through collaborative research on infectious diseases taking forward the global agenda of infectious disease control and management,” she said. “The provision of quality healthcare both in normal and emergency is the essential part of the transformation that we are going through today.”