Move for Health walk on Saturday collected more than Nu 7.3 million. This means, in the next two years, the health trust fund will be doubled to Nu 3 billion.

For a nation that is committed to providing free healthcare services to its citizens, Move for Health means much more than just conducting annual health walk. It means securing the future of out healthcare services.

When His Majesty The Fourth Druk Gyalpo issued the royal charter in 2000 to establish Bhutan Health Trust Fund, it was with the vision to achieve sustainability of primary healthcare services through the provision of continued and uninterrupted supply of core primary healthcare supplies of vaccines, essential drugs, needles, syringes, cold chain equipment and other related drugs and equipment.

Since the establishment of Bhutan Health Trust Fund, we have spent more than Nu 420 million for essential drugs and vaccines. A total of Nu 236 million has been allocated for procuring essential drugs and vaccines for the financial year 2016-17. As a nation that doesn’t produce modern pharmaceutical products and equipment, managing sustainable resources to procure them is critical because we cannot be certain about the sustainability of primary healthcare in the future.

With the emergence of new diseases and rapid population growth, providing free healthcare services will be challenging in the future. As citizens so, it is important that we contribute towards building the fund. The health ministry’s awareness programmes through health walk has been effective. Our people are increasingly becoming aware of the importance of the building the fund.

Over the years, contributions from the people have grown significantly. And the government contributes to the capital of the trust fund to match donor contribution on a one-to-one basis.

It is not enough that we strengthen the fund; it should be sustainable. If need be to consolidate the fund, health contribution, which constitutes just about one percent of a person’s salary, could be increased to meet the fund target. It is incumbent on us as the users of free healthcare services to replenish the fund so that future generations will be able to enjoy free healthcare and medicines.