Yam Kumar Poudel

The Ministry of Health received the 2022 UN Inter-Agency Task Force (UNIATF) and the WHO Special Program on Primary Health Care Award on September 21. 

This award is in recognition of the successful implementation of the Service with Care and Compassion Initiative (SCCI) – a people-centred approach to the delivery of non-communicable diseases (NCD) services at the district level.

Sowai (health minister) Lyonpo Dechen Wangmo received the award virtually. The 77th session of the United National General Assembly held in the United States gave the award.

A total of 18 nations and organizations were recognised in three different categories namely; ministries of health (MoH) or government agencies under MoH; ministries or government agencies beyond health, and non-state actors. 

Seven countries were awarded under the Ministry of Health category, one under the ministries beyond health category and 10 under the non-state category.

Sowa Lyonpo said that the SCCI would foster community vitality, inclusiveness and empowerment of the patient.

Health Minister Dechen Wangmo receives the UNIATF award virtually

 “The people-centred approach has promoted regular interface and improved experience towards receiving NCD care, particularly for terminal patients requiring palliative care and those residing in the remote communities,” Lyonpo said.

The SCCI, a district-level people-centred approach to providing non-communicable disease services and mental health is honoured with this award for its outstanding implementation.

SCCI facilitates the health workers to strengthen effective NCD management and guides enhancing staff efficiency through task shifting, according to Lyonpo.

SCCI is implemented through a three-way partnership model with the ministry of health, Khesar Gyalpo University of Medical Sciences of Bhutan and dzongkhag health authorities.

SCCI was launched in 2019 as a pilot project in Tsirang, Punakha, Wangdue, and Zhemgang. 

The ministry will be scaling up SCCI in all 20 dzongkhags by the end of 2023.

The key features of SCCI such as outreach services, medicine refills, recall and reminders, responsive referrals, and timely diagnosis have made it convenient for patients to avail of timely NCD services. The initiative is also disability and elderly inclusive, which are priority vulnerable populations for the health sector.