Nima Wangdi 

The Opposition Party objected to the government’s move to relocate the national traditional medicine hospital (NTMH) to the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck national referral hospital (JDWNRH) premises through a press release yesterday.

The party stated that the move would be a major policy blunder by the government. “It would also lead to serious negative implications on the future of traditional medicine.” NTMH is presently located at Kawangjangsa.

“The Opposition has come to learn that the government is seriously working on shifting and merging the NTMH with JDWNRH and we are deeply concerned about it,” the party said.  “Our traditional medicine is a unique system based on the combination of spiritualism and science and forms a vital part of our national identity, culture, and spiritual practice.”

According to the party, the Constitution also requires the State to place equal importance on both modern and traditional medicines. It stated that the successive visionary leaders have placed high importance on traditional medicine and it remains in a vibrant and progressive state today playing a vital role in our health system, and complementing modern medicine.

The Opposition also claimed that the hospital now enjoys high administrative and management autonomy at a department level. It also has independent hospital infrastructure, medical facilities, and amenities. “The hospital enjoys high convenience in terms of delivery as well as the accessibility of services.”

According to the press release, the teaching hospital and training institute being together under the current setup has benefitted the hospital. “Shifting the hospital as a division under JDWNRH will completely undermine traditional medicine putting its survival at stake in the future.”

The Opposition urged the government to keep the hospital at its present location and invest in promoting and strengthening traditional medicine rather.

Health Minister, Dechen Wangmo presented during the last parliament session on the plan to shift NTMH to JDWNRH premises. She then said that the ministry’s primary objective of shifting the hospital is to provide both traditional and allopathic medicine services from one hospital.

Lyonpo also said that the hospital faces parking space constraints at the present location and shifting it to JDWNRH will help inform more people about the traditional medical services.