YK Poudel 

On average, at least five patients visit the Bhutan Stroke Foundation (BSF) for services every day.

The national referral hospital (JDWNRH) treats over 20 patients in a month. To support such initiatives, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) provided physiotherapeutic equipment and machines to BSF yesterday.

Cerebrovascular accident (CVA), commonly known as stroke, is a life-threatening condition that occurs when the blood supply to parts of the brain is cut off.

According to the health ministry’s annual statistics, there were 620 CVA cases in 2021.

The need for acute treatment, post-stroke rehabilitation, and prevention measure policies and schemes are a growing concern in the country.

The equipment and machines were provided through Japan Alumni Association of Bhutan (JAAB) Mini-Grant scheme.

BSF is the outcome of the project “Establishment of Therapeutic Centre for the Vulnerable Group (stroke survivors and their families)” by Dawa Tshering.

Dawa Tshering said that lack of budget and expertise to look after stroke survivours are some of the challenges facing BSF; many Bhutanese do not know about the dangers of stroke.

“The grant and equipment assistance from JICA will be beneficial in enhancing our non-medical therapeutic services to the survivors.”

“The need for such therapeutic services for stroke patients is increasing. The devices are life-changing equipment for the patients,” Dawa Tshering said.

He said: “BSF at Motithang has received over 170 patients who registered for therapeutic services within two years; the cases might be more for the hospitals. With these machines at the foundation, we will be able to extend this service in other parts of the country over time.”

BSF, a registered Civil Society Organisation, provides counselling, meditation, healing, livelihood enhancing skills, and sorig yoga to patients to avail physical and online sessions with a focus on creating awareness and preventive measures for cardiovascular diseases.

A press release from BSF stated that a robot hand exercise machine, exercise bike, tilt table, parallel bar, balanced board, pegboard, BP automatic machine, shoulder wheel, rope and pulley, among others, were been provided by JICA.

Chief Representative, JICA Bhutan Office, Tomoyuki Yamada, said that not many people are aware of the kind of specialised care stroke patients require. “BSF will probably be one of the few facilities catering to the needs of stroke patients.”