Staff Reporter 

To support the fight against Covid-19, the health ministry received 15 portable ventilators from the United States government through their Embassy in New Delhi, India, last week.

According to a press release from the foreign ministry, the ventilators, which were received by the health ministry’s medical supplies distribution division (MSDD) in Phuentsholing, will be distributed to hospitals in Thimphu, Paro, Gelephu, Phuentsholing and Mongar.

The ventilators will be used to cater to the needs of Covid-19 patients. The equipment along with other accessories is about USD 170,000.

Earlier this year, the USAID had also committed USD 1 million to the Bhutan Foundation, a non-governmental organisation based in the US to support Covid-19 relief efforts in Bhutan. The grant has been used to strengthen diagnostic laboratory capabilities and clinical case-management, provide virtual training for health workers and lab personnel and develop communications materials on Covid-19 prevention, readiness, and response.

The grant will also help micro, small, and medium-sized support initiatives for those who have lost their incomes due to the pandemic, stated the press release. In September, USAID, in coordination with the Bhutan Foundation, also provided 200,000 non-medical face masks to the health ministry.

In addition, the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) office at the US Embassy in New Delhi has supported the Royal Centre for Disease Control (RCDC) and provided technical guidance and financial support for laboratory testing of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.  It has also supported the establishment of molecular and virology laboratory capacity in the country.