Jigmi Wangdi

The Ministry of Health (MoH) received 27 iCTGs equipment from JICA Bhutan Office as part of the Technical Cooperation Project “Strengthening Maternal and Child Health by Telemedicine System Establishment.” 

The iCTG is a targeted initiative designed to enhance access to specialised gynaecological and obstetric care, especially for pregnant women living in remote and challenging areas. The project aims to improve access to and the quality of perinatal care services in Bhutan through the utilisation of iCTG.

Of the 27 iCTGs, 25 will be distributed to primary health centres in the country’s remotest areas, extending our care to those most in need.

 The remaining two will be given to the Faculty of Nursing and Public Health, Khesar Gyalpo University of Medical Sciences of Bhutan for sustained utilisation through the essential capacity development of health professionals.

Administered by health professionals, the system facilitates the diagnosis of foetal abnormalities and monitors uterine contractions. By screening high-risk pregnancies, timely referrals and management are enabled. 

This equipment will further boost the advancement of mother and child health and improve access to the quality of health services across Bhutan, thereby reducing inequity in healthcare. With the additional iCTGs, the nationwide outreach will extend even further.

Health Minister Dechen Wangmo said that providing comprehensive and quality maternal and child healthcare is a national priority. 

“Every child deserves a healthy start in life, and every mother should have access to quality healthcare services during pregnancy and childbirth, regardless of where they live. Today, despite having limited gynaecologists, with the use of technology such as iCTG, we can extend that vital service to our pregnant mothers,” Lyonpo said. 

Chief Representative JICA Bhutan, Tomoyuki Yamada, said that the iCTG system is a revolutionary compact CTG telemedicine device that combines cardiotocography with mobile technology and a cloud platform for medical information sharing. 

“This innovative device, developed and commercialised by Japanese medical equipment manufacturer Melody International Ltd, has been part of a collaborative project involving UNDP, the Japanese Government, and JICA with the MoH since December 2020,” he said. 

Tomoyuki added that JICA has been working with MoH to expand the coverage of reliable cardiotocography using iCTG in Bhutan and to ensure the technical and maintenance capacity of Bhutanese stakeholders engaged in maternal and child health.

The health professionals will be trained to ensure the sustainable usage of iCTG and to strengthen human resource capabilities. 

With the joint efforts of MOH and JICA, this collaboration is a step towards achieving Universal Health Coverage, concentrating on enhancing access to quality and equitable healthcare as reproductive, maternal, and child health services remain crucial to the health system.