Trongsa lags behind on infant and under-five mortality targets

MTR: Although Trongsa has achieved more than 50 percent of its 11th Plan activities the dzongkhag is behind on its targets to reduce infant and under-five mortality rates.

During its mid-term review on March 21 it was reported that there were four infant and two under-five mortality cases in the dzongkhag. The target was to achieve zero mortalitiy.

Trongsa Dzongdag Sonam Rinchen said this was caused  by poor health as a result of ingrained cultural beliefs,  that prevents seeking timely medical care. And also because the dzongkhag lacks a pediatrician.

To address the issue, the dzongdag said the dzongkhag would focus more on intensive health advocacy programmes. For children aged under-five, the dzongkhag requested that a pediatrician be made available either in Bumthang or Trongsa.

On another issue, the dzongkhag also proposed the removal of fish production. The dzongkhag had a target of producing a metric ton (MT) of fish. However due to congested space and location it was found not feasible to meet this target.

The dzongkhag also proposed reducing potato production from 2,345MT to 647MT a year. This was because the dzongkhag could produce only 550 MT against its target. “We have set the potato production target beyond the dzongkhag’s capability,” the dzongdag said.

In response, Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay suggested not to reduce the potato production but to work harder and get all the required technical support from the government. On fish production, Lyonchoen said if it’s due to religious sentiments the dzongkhag could remove the target but congestion should not be the reason.

Dzongdag Sonam Rinchen also touched on enhanced rural household income and food sufficiency. Trongsa has achieved the production of 205MT of mandarin against its target of 190, 18MT of tomato against its target of 8.50MT, 2,730.91MT of milk against its target of 1,242MT. Targets for cheese and butter were also realized.

On rural household income, the dzongkhag has produced 170MT of fruits and nuts against its target of 214 and also produced 1,909MT of paddy against its target of 2,400MT, and produced 2.728 million eggs.

The dzongkhag has also produced 290MT of chilli, 9.02MT of ginger, 267MT of wheat, 203MT of buckwheat, 1,660MT of maize, 162MT of cabbage and 49MT of cauliflower.

The dzongdag said that 98 percent of its households have proper sanitation facilities, and that all the households were connected to proper sewerage systems, mobile connectivity and electricity.

Sonam Rinchen said two schools have been upgraded from lower secondary to middle secondary and a central school. Five primary schools were downgraded to extended classrooms. All 23 schools across Trongsa have developed school disaster management plans.

During the review, the dzongkhag proposed the need to conduct in-depth soil testing before preparing the local area plan to avoid likely disasters and quality terracing for slope areas in the gewogs. Trongsa has rugged terrain and unstable soil, which makes infrastructure development more vulnerable to natural disasters.

The dzongkhag reported to the prime minister that although people requested for orange and milk processing units in Langthel during his visit to the gewog last year, it was found not feasible.

During the prime minister’s recent visit, the dzongkhag raised the possibility of housing important institutions in the historic Kuengarabten dzong that has fallen into disuse. For which the prime minister directed that the proposal must come through the gewog  andand dzongkhag tshogdues.

Dawa Gyelmo

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