Cancer patients in the country will no longer have to travel abroad for treatment. That’s because the government will establish a cancer hospital in the country.
The decision to establish a cancer hospital comes in the face of a growing number of people suffering from the disease and the increasing cost that government incurs in treating them in hospitals outside Bhutan.
Some 1,500 patients were referred to India for treatment in the 2016-2017 financial year, which cost the government about Nu 2bn. Of the total referrals, about 35 per cent were cancer patients.
Some 499 cancer patients were referred to India in the financial year 2015-2016. The figure rose to 555 in the financial year 2016 to 2017.
“Especially, cancer patients require the support of the whole family and when they are outside the country, they are not able to get the support of the whole family as there is only one attendant,” Dr. Gosar Pemba, JDWNRH’s Medical Superintendent said.
“So that’s why they face numerable problems. One is the climate, the next is food and the other is living conditions in the treatment centres in India. It will be very good if we have a cancer centre in Bhutan.”
Doctors, technicians and nurses will go for training to run the cancer hospital.
“It will come at a very high price if we need to hire people from other countries,” Dr Gosar Pemba added.
“We could maybe get a few people from outside to tie up over a period when our own doctors and technicians are being trained. The other way is, maybe we could tie up with cancer hospitals outside the country whereby their specialists come in to work for a few weeks in a month.”
The government of India agreed to establish a cancer hospital in the country to mark 50 years of diplomatic relations between Bhutan and India.
The construction of 100-bedded hospital will cost about Nu 2bn.