Virtual conference to discuss essential health services in Covid times

Chhimi Dema 

About 100 participants attending the sixth international virtual conference on Medical and Health Sciences are discussing primary health care services in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, maternal and child health services, and innovative health service delivery.

The conference, which began yesterday in Thimphu, also focuses on sharing experiences and management of Covid-19 and leadership during the pandemic.

The theme this year is “Essential Health Services in the times of Covid and beyond.”

During the inaugural session of the conference at the Khesar Gyalpo University of Medical Sciences of Bhutan  (KGUMSB) yesterday, foreign minister Dr Tandin Dorji said that in addition to combating the pandemic, the government was mindful of ensuring seamless flow of essential health services.

He said that during the pandemic, services such as immunisation, reproductive health, maternal and child health, mental health and emergencies were provided without interruption.

“While there is no doubt that Covid-19 has challenged the health sector, wrecked the economy of nations and devastated peoples’ lives and livelihoods, it has also given us an opportunity to relook at our priorities, our weaknesses, vulnerabilities and to adapt,” the minister said.

Lyonpo said that it was important to show solidarity and support each other by sharing resources, experiences and knowledge in such a crisis, which will happen during the conference.

The president of KGUMSB, Dr Kinzang P Tshering said while the fight against the pandemic is on, health care services to the public have to continue. “Therefore, it was relevant to discuss essential health services in times of Covid and beyond.”

The conference is an annual activity of KGUMSB to promote and strengthen research for evidence-based practice and decision-making.

It provides an opportunity for health professionals and researchers to update on the latest developments in the field of medical and health sciences.

In the three-day conference that ends on November 20, 19 guest speakers would make 19 presentations on emerging trends in healthcare waste management with a focus on Covid-19 waste, the impact of the pandemic on the work lives and emotional wellbeing of health workers and transition to telehealth for mental health services, among others.

There are participants from the United States, Australia, Japan, India, Nepal, Mongolia and Lao People’s Democratic Republic.

Meanwhile, volume six of the Bhutan health journal was launched during the inaugural session.

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