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Economic and Social Development Programme:
Contributing to the Creation of a Medical System
to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 and Other Infectious Diseases in Rural Areas

January 24, 2024

Country Assistance Division 3,First
Management Department
MAKI Hotaka

SDGs Goal 3: Good Health and Well-Being

Speedy and Optimal Procurement of Needed Equipment

JICS worked together with the Ministry of Health of Bhutan based on the characteristics of the equipment and local needs. Portable ultrasound scanners were delivered quickly by air, while the ambulances were SUVs suitable for traversing mountainous areas, and the medical equipment inside the vehicle was selected after careful coordination based on the lifesaving system during transportation. Additionally, a request was made to change the delivery destinations of the X-ray systems while they were being transported, but we were able to promptly coordinate with all parties involved to accommodate the change and deliver the systems to the hospitals where they were needed the most.

Ambulances delivered to Bhutan (Courtesy of the Ministry of Health)

Helping to Strengthen Fragile Rural Healthcare Systems

Bhutan’s rural healthcare system is fragile such that in some cases patients are transported to hospitals in the capital city over a two-day period. Therefore, almost all of the equipment procured for this project was deployed to rural hospitals. At the handover ceremony, the Royal Government of Bhutan expressed its appreciation to the Government of Japan for its role in strengthening the rural healthcare system. JICS will continue to contribute to the development of the country by maximizing the effectiveness of its assistance by accurately responding to the needs of the front lines and delivering products promptly.

Project Overview

Prompt Delivery of Medical Equipment for COVID-19 Countermeasurese

In the regional cities of Bhutan, the fragile healthcare system has led to a serious problem of deteriorating healthcare conditions. In particular, there is a severe shortage of medical equipment for infectious disease control. In response to a request from the Royal Government of Bhutan, the Government of Japan procured a small ambulance and portable X-ray equipment, which contributed to the early delivery of the equipment.

Counterpart of Agent Agreement Gross National Happiness Commission, Royal Government of Bhutan
End-user Ministry of Health, Royal Government of Bhutan
Grant amount ¥300million
Exchange of Notes (Bilateral Agreement) June 23, 2020