Nima Wangdi

The Royal Centre for Infectious Disease (RCID) will be ready in 13th Plan.

The health ministry and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed the minutes of the meeting for the preparatory survey for the construction yesterday, which will be submitted to the Japanese Cabinet for approval.

A joint press release stated that the project would officially start after formal approval by the government of Japan. “It is supported under the grant aid of JICA.”

It also stated that a team of Japanese experts visited Bhutan in November 2021 to conduct preparatory surveys for the construction. “Several virtual meetings were conducted between the officials from the health ministry, JICA headquarters and Japanese experts.”

During the signing of the minutes of the meeting yesterday at the health ministry’s conference hall, the chief representative of JICA Bhutan, Watanabe Kozo, said the RCID is planned as a top referral hospital for the treatment of infectious diseases and related human resource development in Bhutan.

“Ministry of Health and the Japanese team have closely worked together to finalize the outline design,” he said.

Health Minister Dechen Wangmo said the centre will have out-patient and in-patient departments along with infectious disease laboratory and research components with negative pressure rooms. “There will be three structures. Each will be three-storied.”

She said she is hopeful that this will become the centre of excellence for infectious diseases in the region. “I wrote the proposal myself and am excited to see it come through.”

The minister also said the centre will play an important role in contributing to our readiness for the next global pandemic should there be one. “We will not have to convert hotels into hospitals.”

She also said that besides building the infrastructure, the project would also help to build Bhutanese competence and capacity in infectious disease management. “It will be constructed in the Gidakom hospital compound in Thimphu since the place has historical connection to infectious diseases with leprosy and tuberculosis hospitals already there.

It was stated that RCID would also work closely with the Royal Centre for Disease Control.