Dr.Oleg Chestnov, Assistant Director General (ADG) for Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) and Mental Health (NMH), Dr.Shanthi Mendhis, Senior Advisor to ADG and Dr.Rutai Shao, NCD Advisor from WHO HQ Geneva visited Bhutan from 12th to 15th November 2014. Dr.Renu Garg, NCD Regional Advisor from WHO SEARO also accompanied the team. The high level team met with the Hon’ble Health Minister and senior officials from the Ministry and discussed issues related to prevention and control of NCDs in the country. The team visited Dawakha BHU and Paro hospital of Paro dzongkhag to observe the ongoing NCD activities. The team commended the works done by the dzongkhag. The team also called upon the Hon’ble Prime Minsiter and discussed various issues related to the NCDs affecting Bhutan.
The ADG and Hon’ble Health Minister launched the factsheet of non-communicable diseases risk factors STEPS survey, Bhutan 2014. The NCD risk factor survey was conducted during April to June 2014 which covered 2,822 people in the age group 18-69 years across the country. Dr Oleg Chestnov’s advice to Bhutan is we want your population to live longer, but at the same time not to be sick. During the launch Dr Shanthi Mendhis also presented the gathering on the priorities and prevention and control of NCDs focusing on the Bhutan’s NCD situation. She said that the high rate of salt intake could be due to the cultural habit of drinking butter tea and appetizers which contains salt. Following the presentation there were issues raised from the floor and discussions on the NCDs in the country.