Thinley Namgay

The five political parties have drawn out lofty pledges to advance the health sector and ensure quality, affordable, and equitable health services in the country.

Each party brings a distinct approach to address the healthcare challenges, raising questions among citizens about the feasibility of their pledges in the face of pressing issues such as the attrition of health workers, economic difficulties, and ongoing emigration.

The country, as mandated by the Constitution, has been providing free basic healthcare services to its citizens. The introduction of new health pledges by any elected party is expected to escalate pressure on the already limited health budget, prompting concerns about the parties’ ability to mobilize adequate funds.

All parties pledge to address the human resource shortages, provide essential medical supplies, conduct health screening programmes, improve healthcare services for people living in rural areas, capacity development of health workers, and ensure quality services for persons with disabilities.

Bhutan Tendrel Party

BTP pledges to develop the Digital Drungtsho mobile application for healthcare, introduce family physicians in satellite clinics, allow off-hour clinics, and outsource select health services to ease the patient load at the national referral hospital.

The party also promises to revamp patient referral systems, expand dialysis services, and implement a flexible shift system for medical professionals. BTP commits to exploring diversification of financing measures for primary healthcare services.

Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa

DNT’s pledges include establishing dedicated hospitals for ear, nose, and throat cancer, and mental health. The party pledges to provide a 10-bed hospital to all gewogs, encourage public-private partnerships and consider private sector investment in select health services with robust regulations.

DNT also promises to regulate traditional wellness services and expand the electronic patient information system to all hospitals.

Druk Phuensum Tshogpa

DPT’s approach involves achieving the WHO-prescribed doctor and nurse-to-population ratio, supporting couples with more than three children, and allocating five doctors and ambulances to dzongkhags hospitals and gewog primary health centres.

The party also pledges to rationalize grade I BHUs in gewogs with a population above 8,000 and increase incentives for critically scarce doctors and specialists based on economic conditions.

Druk Thuendrel Tshogpa

DTT focuses on reducing hospital waiting times to less than 15 minutes and providing special dental and dermatologist services for the diaspora abroad.

The party pledges to increase incentives for health professionals and offers options for those willing to pay for faster health services, including treatment by international service providers.

People’s Democratic Party

If elected, PDP pledges to upgrade Samtse Hospital to a regional referral hospital and establish a cancer hospital in Thimphu. PDP pledges to build a dzongkhag hospital in Thimphu, set up specialist centres at strategic locations, and establish a mother and child hospital in Gelephu.

PDP also pledges dialysis services at every dzongkhag hospital and additional referral systems in specific locations for patient referrals to India.