Physical impairment cases see steady rise

The annual health bulletin 2018 revealed that the population of impairment is highest in the southern parts of Bhutan.

The report revealed that Samtse Dzongkhag has the highest physical, speech and multiple impairments when compared to other Dzongkhags.

The highest number of people with physical impairment is seen in Samtse with 162 followed by Wangduephodrang with 140 and Trashigang with 107. Similarly, Samtse has the highest number of speech impaired with 238 followed by Paro and Wangduephodrang with 153 and 142 respectively.

Meanwhile, people with hearing disabilities are highest in Wangduephodrang with 474, followed by Samtse with 421 and Paro with 322.

According to the report, the number of population with impairment has been steadily increasing over a year. The number of people living with physical impairment has increased from 1,055 in 2016 to 1,126 in 2017. Similarly, the number of speech and hearing has also increased from 1,142 and 2,188 in 2016 to 1,339 and 3,029 in 2017 respectively.

Visual and multiple impairments also saw an increase to 2,129 and 1,535 last year from 1,531 and 1,415 in 2016.

On the other hand, Wangduephodrang has the highest number of people living with hearing disability with 474, which is an increase of 305 people last year.

Zhemgang  has seen the highest increase in impairment population. In 2016, the number of physical, multiple, speech, hearing, visual impairments stood at 2, 3 and 9 each respectively, however, in 2017, the number has increased almost ten folds bringing the total to 40, 32, 74, 122,and 75 respectively.

Gasa which had the lowest number of impairment cases has also seen a steady increase in 2017.

In 2016, Gasa had only three cases each of physical and speech impairment followed by 11, 10 and 2 hearing, visual and multiple impairment respectively. But last year, the numbers increased to 11 each for physical and speech, followed by 15 and 14 for hearing and visual and four with multiple impairments.

According to the Population and Housing Census of Bhutan 2017, the main cause of disability in Bhutan is diseases and illness. The least common cause as per the report was accident.

Lucky Wangmo from Thimphu