Bhutan PM meets India`s candidate for WHO post

India`s candidate for the post of Regional Director of World Health Organisation Poonam Khetrapal Singh called on Bhutanese Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay.

Last Updated: Aug 14, 2013, 15:51 PM IST

Thimphu: India`s candidate for the post of Regional Director of World Health Organisation (WHO) Poonam Khetrapal Singh called on Bhutanese Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay and discussed issues like healthcare and sanitation.

Natural calamities like receding glaciers and glacier floods, need for emergency preparedness, essential generic medicine, rise in non-communicable diseases, and proper nutrition for mothers and children were also discussed in the meeting yesterday.

They also talked about disease prevention nutrition, safe drinking water, and Bhutan`s progress in these fronts.

Singh commended the Prime Minister on the nation`s remarkable advancement toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), conceding to an increase in life expectancy and decrease in infant and maternal mortality rates.

"Looking at how Bhutan is moving ahead, the nation will fulfil the MDG objectives even before the target date," Singh said in an official press release.

In the release, Singh is quoted saying that non-communicable diseases were not common in Bhutan before.

But today, the nation is witnessing a rise in lifestyle related diseases such as diabetes, increasing cholesterol levels and hypertension.

The talks also highlighted the importance of nutritional diet patterns, regular exercise and improving advocacy in combating these diseases. Delivering primary healthcare, essential drugs and prevention of non-communicable diseases require a lot more attention and support from WHO, said the Prime Minister.

"Bhutan is striving toward achieving economic self-reliance but in the immediate future, we need aid from WHO in successfully addressing and advocating these pertinent health issues," the Prime Minister added.

Singh has been working with the WHO for the last 15 years and is currently a candidate for the post of WHO Regional Director of South-East Asia.

PTI