Japan donates medical equipment to JDWNRH
February 1, 2019

The Japanese government donated Polysomnography and Auditory Brain-stem Response equipment for the ENT (ear, nose and throat) department at the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH) in Thimphu, yesterday.
Polysomnography is a test used to diagnose sleep disorders.
The equipment worth Japanese Yen eight million would help the hospital in providing appropriate examination and treatment to patients with hearing disability and sleep apnea syndrome.
The Project for Provision of Medical Equipment for JDWNRH was supported through the Japanese Government’s Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects (GGP).
Minister (Economic and Development), from the Embassy of Japan in New Delhi, India, Kenko Sone, said that in Bhutan, hearing impairment accounts for the highest numbers among the population living with disabilities. Early detection has been a significant challenge.
The other challenge, he pointed out was sleep apnea syndrome, which is associated with dysfunction of the throat muscle.
“People with this syndrome tend to get involved in traffic accidents due to excessive daytime sleepiness, which is further complicated by other diseases such as heart attack and arteriosclerosis,” he said.
JDWNRH is the only hospital that has specialised ENT treatment facilities in the country. He said that it played a major role in the treatment of patients with hearing impairment and sleep apnea syndrome.
While the number of patients visiting the hospital increase every year, the hospital was not able to provide good quality examination or proper treatment to the patients’ due to the lack of necessary equipment.
Considering this, he said that the Japanese government has decided to sponsor the equipment to provide appropriate treatment for approximately eight million patients with hearing disability and sleep apnea syndrome annually, as requested by the hospital.
JDWNRH’s director Tshering Yangden said that Japan, through JICA has always supported the hospital.
The equipment, she said would enhance diagnostic services in the hospital, which in turn would improve the quality of its services and greatly contribute to improving the health system. “We thank the government of Japan for the grant aid and the support.”
The grant contract for the project was signed on March 3, last year.
The GGP scheme was established in 1989 to meet the diverse basic human needs in developing countries. The Japan government has been supporting Bhutan in various projects, such as the construction of bridges, provision of fire engines and compactor trucks.
Dechen Tshomo


Media Literacy Guidebook in Dzongkha & Braille


In our move to engage all citizens and reach the vulnerable, Bhutan Centre for Media and Democracy (BCMD) is now translated News and Media Literacy into Dzongkha (the National Language) to reach to our non-English speaking population. The guidebook has been translated and is being printed with the support of EU & Helvetas Bhutan
The same guidebook is also being converted into braille so that more persons with disabilities can learn news literacy. This is being done following a training last year to Special Education Needs teachers from Wangsel and Muenseling Institutes.
Both the guidebooks will be launched in February and will be distributed to villages, monastic institutes, and schools across the country to help everyone becomea smart consumer of information. The braille productions are being done in partnership with the Royal Education Council.


A country boy of Sha Khothakha
January 31, 2019

Two days ago, a 28-year-old Kinley Gyeltshen walked out of Bhutan National Bank branch office in Wangduephodrang, contented and relieved.
He had just liquidated his Nu 500,000 loan he availed in March last year from the bank. Kinley Gyeltshen was the first recipient of loan under the Priority Sector Lending Scheme (PSL), the Royal Monetary Authority initiated.
With a good financial discipline, the 28-year-old is also the first PSL beneficiary to liquidate his loan before the end of the loan period.
In March last year, he availed the loan at eight percent interest for a period of one year.
“I was a bit skeptical,” he said. His concern was whether he would be able to repay the loan within the stipulated time. “With the constant guidance and advise of the PSL committee, I was able to pay the loan before the term expired,” he said.
But his story is similar to the stories of other youth who are hunting for jobs in the concrete gullies of the capital. With a bachelors degree from Banglore, India, he was another jobseeker.
A son of farmers in Sha Khothakha, he spent his teens learning the skills required for potato farming. “Even while studying in college, farming was at the back of my mind,” he said.
He got a job in a private mining company but realised that he could save none and the salary was barely adequate to meet his expenditure.
When he heard of the PSL and that it would support agricultural activities, he grew more passionate.
He sought assistance from “Google Rinpoche” and YouTube to learn more about potato farming including the soil fertility. His application was approved and he was into the task right after.
By then, he had already gathered the potato seeds. The loan helped him with the fencing and to refurbish his store in his traditional house.
“It entails tremendous amount of physical work and it was difficult in the beginning,” he said. He also tried new methods and claims it is quite different from what his parents and grandparents did.
By the end of monsoon, Kinley’s potatoes were growing on more than eight acres of land in Khothakha. He believes he belongs to farm and likes to call himself a country boy.
Then came harvest season and his yield filled three and half truckloads. At the auction yard in Phuentsholing, it fetched him more than Nu 850,000. This is only 80 percent of his yield. The remaining 20 percent, he said was absorbed in the local market.
When the potatoes left the field barren, he planted turnip and mustard. “Cattle feed in winter was in short supply in the southern dzongkhags,” he said. The turnips and mustard are now supplied to southern dzongkhags as cattle feed.
After repaying his loan, he said, he could save more than Nu 300,000. He is looking forward to invest the saving in his farm and diversify the crops. “If I was a salaried employee, I would have never saved that much amount even in five years, ” he said.
Tshering Dorji

BB 2 Feb 2019