Health: In the next two years, the health trust fund will be doubled to Nu 3 billion (B), Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay said during an event to commemorate the Move For Health Walk on October 1.

Currently, the fund stands at Nu 1.5B.

Some 2,000 participants took part in a 6.3km marathon from the Changlimithang parking area to Babesa and then back to the Clock Tower Square in Thimphu, as part of the event.

His Majesty The Fourth Druk Gyalpo granted the Royal Charter to establish Bhutan Health Trust Fund (BHTF) in 2000 to ensure free healthcare in a sustainable manner.

Lyonchoen said that people understand the importance of BHTF and every year, more people support the fund by donating money.

Lyonchoen said that in a way, the current fund is enough for providing free basic health care services to the people. However, in the future, the sustainability of Primary Health Care is not certain, Lyonchoen added.

“It is everyone’s responsibility to strengthen the fund. We can ensure that our future generations will also enjoy free healthcare and medicines,” Lyonchoen said.

BHTF has spent more than Nu 420 million (M) on essential drugs and vaccines since its establishment 15 years ago. A total of Nu 236M has been allocated for procuring essential drugs and vaccines for the financial year 2016-17.

Lyonchoen said that it is the responsibility of the Bhutanese to take care of their health and not take the free health care services for granted. He stressed on the importance of healthy eating and physical activities.

Besides protecting the health trust fund, Lyonchoen said it would be welcome if Bhutanese can increase the fund.

The health ministry organised the event to raise awareness for the Health Trust Fund and also to ensure sustainability of the BHTF.

As part of the event, various health related activities including health-screening and treatment services, and a health exhibition were organised at the Clock Tower to advocate healthy lifestyles, promote BHTF ownership and solicit voluntary donations.

Prizes were also awarded to the three marathon winners and donors were issued certificates of appreciation.

Dechen Tshomo