YK Poudel

To improve healthcare services, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Ministry of Finance (MoF) signed a record of discussions in Thimphu for implementation of the project “Strengthening government capacity for using digital technology and data” yesterday.

Representatives from the Ministry of Information and Communications (MoIC) and the Ministry of Health (MoH), which will implement the project, attended the signing ceremony.

JICA will dispatch long-term experts and provide the necessary training to achieve the project’s purpose.

According to the MoIC Secretary Phuntsho Tobgay this project would enhance the e-governance and service delivery of the health sector. “The use of national digital ID will be able to enable information sharing seamlessly across all government sectors and agencies with significant impact on how health services are delivered.’’

“About 69 percent of all deaths in Bhutan is associated with non-communicable diseases (NCDs) with 41 percent of the health budget allocated towards NCDs,” he said.

Chief Representative of JICA Bhutan, Tomoyuki Yamada, said that this project would bring huge benefits to the people in the health sector.

“Bhutan is undergoing transformation and under the e-governance scheme, using such health data will help to set up an infrastructure where the government officials and entities can access the data for public wellbeing,” he said.

As per the Acting Health Secretary, Pemba Wangchuk, the project would ensure quality data for easy analysis and cost-effective intervention.

“We are already working in the collection of medical data, health data, bio-data and household data bank with cloud storage,” he said. “With accurate and relevant data we expect to have evidence-based planning during this time of transformation in the health sector.”

The project would assist to raise public awareness of one’s health management.

The project starts on February 2023 and ends on February 2027.