With vast experience in the public health up her sleeve, Lyonpo Dechen Wangmo, the new health minister, is confident of uplifting health services and to improve the health system of the country.
The 42-year-old and a mother of one said that with a background in health, she understood the health system in the country well.
“I can confidently say that I can start working from the day one,” she said. “I wanted to be in health sector because health is something that I am very passionate about. I think that for a small population like ours, there are a lot of things that we can do.”
Having worked with some brilliant people in the health ministry and with governments of eight countries in her career, Lyonpo said that she was confident to take over the office.
Prime Minister (Dr) Lotay Tshering said that Lyonpo Dechen Wangmo is a perfect health policy maker. “She knows about public health like no one else does.”
She said that after joining the office, she would seek everybody’s guidance and try to know everyone. “I think that is important,” she said.
People who know her describe Lyonpo as a warm person. When Lyonpo greets you, she beams. A huge, warm smile spreads across her face.
Lyonpo said that working in the health sector could be challenging. “There is a lot of trust placed by the people of Bhutan and we also have a unique and free health system. I really hope that we can achieve higher goals for the sector.”
Lyonpo Dechen Wangmo is the third oldest of the five siblings. Her father Pema Tshering describes her as someone who always worked hard to excel. “Even as a child, she was guided by her strongly held values of charity and empathy.”
Speaking about her father, Lyonpo said that he is bit overwhelmed. “He has always been proud of me. I am sure it’s a natural feeling.”
In terms of priorities for the ministry, Lyonpo, who is the first woman health minister in Bhutan, said that the priorities were laid out clearly in Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa’s manifesto and in the 12thPlan.
“We hope to re-look into the priorities and try to reprioritise 12thPlan and our pledge if need be,” Lyonpo said. “Having said that, nothing is set in stone. If anything comes up, we will look at what the country really needs and how best we can use our resources. These would be my agenda.”
Lyonpo said she was excited about the next five years to work with the people and to achieve what the government had envisioned for Bhutan. “I am super excited.”