IRS |Institute of Regional Studies


Contemporary Regional Developments in Bhutan

12th April - 17th April
  • Kangaroo Mother Care makes strides, but still a long road ahead
    Early Essential Newborn Care (EENC) and Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) have picked up well with an assessment report showing EENC and KMC being given to over 90 per cent of all newborns. But when comes to preterm babies, only 50 per cent of them received KMC. Kangaroo Mother Care is important for all newborns, more so for preterm babies. The care consists of prolonged skin-to-skin contact and exclusive breastfeeding. It is found to keep babies warm, calm and healthy. It also helps in breastfeeding and improving the weight of babies. The health ministry with WHO and UNICEF started KMC in 10 hospitals last year in an effort to reduce newborn mortality rate. An assessment done in three regional hospitals in March found that term babies received the care better than the preterm newborns. “But within one year, I think it is a good progress. From zero to 50, it is excellent,” Rudolf Schwenk, a UNICEF Bhutan Representative said. “But, of course, we want to make sure we achieve 100 per cent. We want to make sure that every child survives and thrives, that every child is alive. So, we will follow up on the findings of the assessment and work with our partners to ensure that the training is strengthened with procedures and processes so that it is clear to all the health workers that have been trained and train new health workers who can then implement this in other hospitals.”
  • Tourist arrivals in Bhutan increased by 21.5 percent in 2017. (Kuensel; 17.4.2018)
4th April - 11th April
  • As Bhutan’s economy grows, so does its waste problem
    • Bhutan’s rapid economic development over the last few decades has been striking. According to World Bank data the GDP of the country grew from USD 135 million in 1980 to USD 2.2 billion in 2016, or sixteen times. Based on its indicators, Bhutan has been recommended for graduation from Least Developed Country status by the UN.
    • While this is good news for the country, it is also accompanied by some negative indicators. he National Environment Commission’s (NEC) report “Bhutan State of Environment, 2016” has pointed out that, with rapid socio-economic development, increasing population and urbanisation, the country is seeing an increase in the amount of solid waste generated. More problematically the composition of that waste is shifting from biodegradable to non-biodegradable waste.
    • Nedup Tshering, a retired civil servant and environmentalist who started a civil society organisation based in Thimphu, Clean Bhutan, said compared to other countries, waste in Bhutan is not a huge problem. However, it is growing rapidly, and within since 2014, when Tshering started his initiative, the waste produced by individual household has doubled from 250 grams a day per person to almost half a kilogramme per person now.
    • Disposable diapers are becoming a growing concern across the country as more people have started to use them and they do not degrade well even in landfills, stated the NEC report. Another issue of concern is that municipal solid waste also contains hazardous and electronic waste.
  • (Eco Business: 9.4.2018)