In the Land of the Thunder Dragon. Essential Drugs Monitor No. 006 (1988)
(1988; 1 page)


The nation of Bhutan is nearly self-sufficient in food production, but despite a relative abundance of food, the country’s geographic isolation has led to health problems for its population. These problems include low life expectancy, waterborne parasites, diarrhoea, dysentery, malaria, tuberculosis, pneumonia, and goiters. The core of the public health system in Bhutan is a system of Basic Health Units staffed by health assistants, auxiliary nurse-midwives, and basic health workers. In 1985, the country began an essential drugs programme with WHO support and created a national drug policy. This policy includes the selection criteria for a national list of essential drugs, the creation of drug consumption and dispensary estimates, a questionnaire to monitor and evaluate baseline data on the availability of essential drugs, tightened quality control, and improved storage management. A formulary and therapeutic manual has been drafted for use in Basic Health Units. The programme has been promoted via a media campaign, and training seminars have been held to improve education for health care workers. The government has used national funds for drug procurement, increased the drug budget by 50%, and assured its commitment to the programme. (Abstract by Flannery Bowman, 2013)

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