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Bhutan’s Health Minister commits to further elevate eye health

Published: 02.08.2023
Yuddha Sapkota Regional Coordinator South-East Asia
Yuddha with Health Minister and Dr Khanna on right

IAPB and WHO along with IAPB members are working together to translate the “Integrate People Centred Eye Care” (IPEC), IAPB Sectoral Strategy “2030 In Sight”, UN General Assembly resolution on eye health and WHO Regional Committee meeting resolution on  IPEC.

A two day meeting was organized by the Ministry of Health, Royal Government of Bhutan in collaboration with the WHO country office, IAPB and its members from 22 and 23rd July, 2023. The purpose of the meeting was the national endorsement of IPEC and formulating the national eye health plan of Bhutan..

The meeting was graced by Lyonpo Dechen Wangmo the honorable health minister of Bhutan. During her keynote speech she committed to further elevate eye health, making it accessible to all the unreached population. During the side meeting with her we discussed the eye health achievement of Bhutan where 95.5% of school going children of Bhutan including monastery children underwent vision screening and refraction services in 2019, which is almost impossible for any other country to perform and achieve. As there is no clinical Trachoma seen in Bhutan but it is not yet declared by WHO as Trachoma free country due to lack of valid evidence. She has directed the concerned authorities to work towards declaring Bhutan as a Trachoma free country with valid evidence generation.

Dasho Dechen Wangmo is a Bhutanese politician who has been Minister for Health since November 2018.

She received a Master of Public Health (Global Health Epidemiology) degree from Yale University, United States and Bachelor of Science in Cardiopulmonary Science from the Northeastern University, United States. Wangmo served as the director of PIE Solutions. She is the chairwoman and a founding member of Bhutan Cancer Society, a non-profit organization in Bhutan

She led a delegation at the 74th World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva, Switzerland, from 24th May to 1st June 2021. In this Assembly two of the eye health Indicators for effective cataract Surgical Coverage (eCSC) and effective Refractive Error Coverage (eREC) indicator was endorsed as tracer indicators of Universal health Coverage. She was also instrumental to endorse the Southeast Asia Action Plan on IPEC in WHO regional Committee meeting in Bhutan in September 2022.

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