BBS Entrepreneurship culture gains ground
Sonam Choden, Thimphu
Nov 13, 2017
The entrepreneurship culture has seen a significant growth in the recent years. This is evident from the fact quite a number of young Bhutanese now run their own businesses and many others are seeking to follow suit.
The entrepreneurship culture gaining ground as a career option was emphasised as Bhutan joined the global community in observing the Global Entrepreneurship Week today.
At the opening of the week-long event being held in Thimphu, the change in the mindset of the youth towards entrepreneurship was cited as the driving force behind the growth in the entrepreneurship culture in the recent years.
Some 20 entrepreneurs and start-ups are exhibiting their products and sharing experiences at a fair held as part of the week-long event. 26-year-old Pema Lhadon from Paro is one of them. Pema’s business specialises on soya bean products. She makes a wide range of food products from soya bean locally known as Shauolee including fermented soya bean paste.
Pema shares that it’s been a smooth ride so far. “When it comes to marketing, people are positive about my products,” said Pema Lhadon.
“When I say it’s locally produced, raw materials are from Bhutan and it’s naturally processed, I get good feedback. And my monthly income exceeds Nu 100,000.”
Loden Foundation is the lead event organizer. It says entrepreneurship hasn’t received adequate attention and support in the past. But now things have changed. Young Bhutanese are more enterprising and are willing to work on their own.
“If we look at the current situation, I think young graduates as students, they start exploring their business ideas and developing their business proposals,” said Dorji Tashi, Executive Director of Loden Foundation.
“When they graduate, they not only have their academic qualification certificate, they also have a proposal in hand. They are quite smart. As soon as they graduate, they go around approaching the investment organizations and put up their proposals.”
He added such creativity and innovation provides an opportunity for the government, non-governmental and development partners to join hands to build brighter and enterprising future for Bhutan.
The weeklong Global Entrepreneurship Week programme is aimed at introducing the concept of social entrepreneurship to beginners, deliver ideas and skills to those on the journey of entrepreneurship, and promote social responsibility among others.
In a bid to take the Global Entrepreneurship Week celebrations beyond Thimphu, a series of workshops and seminars will be held in university colleges, technical training institutions and high schools across the country.
Bhutan and GoI in talks to come up with a Cancer Hospital in Thimphu
Tenzing Lamsang 11/11/2017
This is would be one of the major initiatives to celebrate and mark the 50 years of diplomatic ties between the two nations
When Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay met the visiting Indian Foreign Secretary on 3rd October to discuss, among others things, the celebrations over 50 years of diplomatic ties, the Prime Minister had an important proposal to be conveyed to the Indian government.
The proposal specifically was for the construction of Bhutan’s first cancer hospital in Thimphu as one of the major programs to mark the 50 years of diplomatic ties between the two nations in 2018.
Though the discussions are at an early stage the indications are positive with the Indian side asking for more details on the issue which in turn is being prepared by the Health Ministry in the form of a concept paper.
The Prime Minister Lyonchhen Dasho Tshering Tobgay said, “India-Bhutan friendship has grown from strength to strength in the last fifty years. Bhutan has also grown immeasurably in terms of sovereignty, socio economic development, health, education and more with Indian support. While we are all aware of this friendship we still needed something tangible to commemorate the 50 years of diplomatic ties and so the Cancer hospital is one of them.”
Lyonchhen said that almost every Bhutanese family or household has been affected in some way or the other by cancer.
“While we have primary and secondary healthcare in Bhutan this is something that is missing,” said the PM.
Lyonchhen said that starting from next year the plan is to start constructing the GoI supported Cancer Hospital. He said that the RGoB will in the meantime start provision for cancer treatment within the existing infrastructure at the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH).
Lyonchhen said that this would be one of the main tangible programs apart from the many other activities, song and dance programs to celebrate the 50 years of diplomatic ties between the two nations.
Lyonchhen said, “I am really excited as this is timely and a fitting tribute to the successful partnership and friendship between the two countries.”
The Health Minister Lyonpo Tandin Wangchuk said that his ministry officials and doctors were already working on the concept paper for the cancer hospital. The minister said that the Bhutanese government has discussed and decided that a Cancer Hospital is needed in Bhutan.
The minister said that the plan of the cancer hospital is to have holistic care in Bhutan. Currently only diagnosis and some level of chemotherapy is done. The minister said that Bhutan would soon introduce radiotherapy as well.
The minister said that in a way the larger number of cancer diagnosis shows that people are aware and healthcare penetration is better compared to the past as people then may have been dying without knowing it was cancer.
Cancer is a growing and major healthcare issue in Bhutan with many numbers falling prey to it. It also consumes a significant part of the healthcare and referral budgets since there is no holistic cancer care in Bhutan.
The health minister said that cancer is rampant in Bhutan and almost every family knows of a cancer afflicted patient or person.
Meanwhile, an Indian official that the paper talked to, on the condition of anonymity, said, “Whenever, Bhutan has made some request the government of India has always done it.”
The official pointed out that India was already involved in Bhutan’s healthcare sector which included the construction of the JDWNRH hospital, Mongar and Gelephu referral hospitals, 150 bedded Mother and Child hospital in Thimphu, primary and secondary health care facilities and other medical infrastructure.
The Indian official, who is in the know, said that the cancer hospital proposal is a doable project and would be received positively by the Indian government.
The official said what is awaited is the details and on the what model the project is to be done.
Bhutan opened a cancer registry last year given the lack of comprehensive and adequate data on the number of cancer patients and also the different types of cancers. The registry is also in the process of collecting a more comprehensive data though past reports and studies have shown a high prevalence in Bhutan that by anecdotal evidence only seems to be going up.
The top ten cancers in Bhutan are stomach, cervix, colorectal cancer, head and neck, oesophagus, liver, gall bladder, ovary, skin, penis and breast.
From 211 known cancer cases in 2008 it increased to 639 to 2014 according to figures with the health ministry. The latest figures which are being compiled in a more in-depth manner are expected to significantly shoot up.
Tackling the country’s doma chewing habit
Phub Gyem, Thimphu
Nov 14, 2017
Doma or betel nut is a key part of Bhutanese culture. It’s been consumed widely by many for centuries. But doctors warn betel nut chewing comes at a terrible cost. It causes cancer, leading people to an early grave.
The nuts harvested from areca palm are mostly consumed in a package called quid. It is a mixture of the nut, slaked lime, betel leaf and other flavourings including cardamom.
Dr. Phub Tshering is an ENT and Head Neck Surgeon with the National Referral Hospital. He says arecoline, an odorless oily liquid substance in areca nut, has been proven to be carcinogenic, a cancer causing agent. “What arecoline does is once a person chews the areca nut, an active component is released, which induces cell turnover and causes mutation,” said Dr. Phub Tshering.
“It induces certain receptors in the body, which leads to cancer. But before that, it induces certain change in the mouth, which is called premalignant condition.”
Premalignant condition is a state of disordered morphology of cells that is associated with an increased risk of cancer. If left untreated, it can lead to cancer.
Besides cancer, areca nut has been linked with other diseases. “There are epidemiological studies, not hardcore research but epidemiological studies, which say that areca nut is associated with metabolic syndrome such as hypertension, diabetes, some arterial problem. It increases stiffness of arteries,” said Dr. Phub Tshering.
At the two-day cancer prevention programme workshop held in Thimphu, Dr. Phub Tshering called for a consistent effort to curb the centuries old habit of doma chewing. This would require an increased advocacy on the health impacts and campaigns to discourage betel nut chewing.
bbs No gungtongs in Merag Gewog
Tshering Zam, Trashigang
Nov 14, 2017
Trashigang has the highest number of gungtong or vacant households. However, it’s a different story in Merag, a remote gewog in the dzongkhag.
Over a thousand houses are lying empty in other parts of Trashigang with the occupants having moved to urban centres in search of better lives.
In Merag, a gewog that is home to over 3,000 people, the situation is the exact opposite. The lure of city lights has not affected the gewog, at least as of now. There is not even a single gungtong in the gewog.
“There are 147 households in Kha-Moed chiwog and not a single one has been abandoned,” said Tenzin Dorji, Merag Tshogpa.
Merag is lies 3,500 metres above the sea level. Even to this day, people in the gewog lead nomadic lives. Livestock is their main source of livelihood and this, many believe, has played a big part in keeping the people in their villages.
“With many developmental activities taking place everywhere, people in the other places migrate to other dzongkhags in search of contract works and businesses instead of working in their fields,” said Phurpa, Merag Mangmi.
“But in our case, since we depend on livestock, we have to look after our cattle.”
Many villagers also said that they have everything they need at their door steps and, therefore, do not see a need to migrate to towns.
AMICI DEL BHUTAN - ITALY