Her Royal Highness Ashi Kesang Wangmo Wangchuck launched the services yesterday

Thinley Namgay   

Cancer patients and those suffering from long term illnesses now have the option to avail traditional medical services to reduce pain and suffering.

Her Royal Highness Ashi Kesang Wangmo Wangchuck launched the services yesterday in Thimphu.

National Traditional Medicine Hospital (NTMH) and the Palliative Care Unit of the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital will collaborate to provide traditional medical services to the patients.

This collaboration will benefit symptomatic patients wishing to opt for the services.

Patients could avail traditional medicine services such as acupuncture, hot and cold compression, massage, herbal compression, cupping, mindfulness and physical exercise, among others.

Palliative Care Unit remains open on Monday, Wednesday and Friday between 9am and 3pm. The unit was established in 2018. Bhutan Cancer Society also works with the unit to support the financially deprived patients.

Health Minister Dechen Wangmo said that the most prevalent cancer in the country was cervical and stomach cancers. “To comfort cancer patients, allopatric and traditional medicines and spiritual support are needed.”

Lyonpo said that palliative care was new in the country. “But the new collaboration would provide a peaceful transition for the patients.”

She said that all women in the country would be screened for cervical cancer.

Officials from the NTMH said that many patients prefer traditional medicine for post-treatment therapies after going through major surgeries such as cancer treatment and organ transplant.

Traditional medicine therapies have proven effective for both physical and mental relaxation, according to NTMH officials. It has also been commonly used for pain management in palliative care in many other countries.

Currently, there are 76 traditional medicine services in the country manned by 59 Drungtshos and 113 Menpas. More than 200 people visit NTMH in Thimphu every day.