Govt. intervention to prevent premature mortality in phase II

According to the Health Minister, going forward the biggest assurance that they have is the vaccination rate in the country

As the nation makes a transition into phase II of Covid-19 management, the main endeavor is to prevent premature mortality or premature death due to COVID-19, according to Health Minister Dechen Wangmo.

The Health Minister, during the question and answer session with the people through Facebook yesterday, divulged that in phase II interventions, there will be some changes in the quarantine facilities, testing, and isolation protocols, again which will be discussed and announced to the nation.

“Our first phase was mainly about prevention and containment. We did very well with the greater support from the public. We manage to contain it, prevent the disease, and protect our population with the vaccination,” Lyonpo said.

However, Lyonpo shared that the transition from phase I to phase II will be based on certain assumptions and those assumptions will be based on the situation of the Omicron virus, the vaccines’ efficacy against the virus, and the mode of transmission.

“The moment there is a change in the way the virus is circulating and the characteristics of the virus then the approach will also have to be changed. So we have to evolve in a strategic way depending on the circumstances that we are faced with,” Lyonpo said.

According to the Health Minister, going forward the biggest assurance that they have is the vaccination rate in the country.

“Our population is also highly educated now on how to protect themselves from the disease. So I think now we need to have greater participation from the public in helping us prevent transmission, prevent yourself from getting the disease,” Lyonpo said.

Lyonpo added that it is an individual’s responsibility to isolate and follow the Covid-19 norms, which will be the overall strategy of the Ministry of Health (MoH) or the national response strategy.

Further, Lyonpo informed the people that we need to clinically manage the patients very efficiently, for which the government has set up health emergency operation centers.

“We have a clinical management team who is looking at all the positive cases across the country, and in each district in the region we have tried to build a hospital there and we are trying to put more health workforces,” Lyonpo said.

Lyonpo added that the health ministry has a limited workforce. “However, the ministry is trying most efficiently so that everybody gets good quality care, and we prevent premature mortality.”

“I don’t think that we can eliminate or eradicate a virus. It is there and it’s going to stay. But we are on a safer ground now than we did a year or two years ago,” Lyonpo said.

Meanwhile, it was also divulged that the MoH is working closely with the National Covid-19 Task Force on phase II of Covid management and that preparation is in full swing.

The Health Minister also mentioned that there are a thousand plus health forces now and 700,000 population in the country. “The ministry absolutely does not have the luxury on the front of health workforces.”

“We are seeing a significant number of cases among people with comorbid conditions. People with comorbid conditions, not only diabetes but also cancer, hypertension, chronic kidney diseases, and lung diseases,” Lyonpo said. “Covid is not the only battle that we are fighting, but we also have to fight other diseases.” 

Kinley Yonten from Thimphu