APLMA and APMEN applaud Bhutan for engaging senior officials from multiple government divisions to enable the country to eliminate malaria and other diseases. Bhutan’s recently created “National Committee for Disease Elimination” (NCDE) is their solution to the challenge that several countries face as they near the elimination finish line: as malaria cases drop, attention and resources face competition from other priorities. Considering Bhutan’s disease burden and population size, senior officials recognized that forming multiple, disease-specific committees may not be a viable approach. Instead, a single, integrated disease elimination committee with multi-sectoral representation was created as an efficient and effective approach to securing high-level support to help the country get to zero cases of malaria and other diseases.
Bhutan’s NCDE is chaired by the Honorable Minister of Health and includes representatives from the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs, the Secretary of Gross National Happiness and multiple disease program leaders including the National Vector Borne Disease Program Director who oversees the country’s malaria elimination efforts. During the NCDE’s meeting earlier this month, the roadmap for eliminating malaria was presented for whole-of-government endorsement.
"This first NCDE meeting in November 2019 enabled the malaria program to secure support from multiple stakeholders to achieve elimination. The highest level of government support from multiple ministries has become critical considering Bhutan’s economic transition in 2023. To ensure an efficient, sustainable and a well-coordinated approach with a strong political commitment toward the elimination of malaria and other diseases, multi-sectoral representation on the NCDE is imperative." Dr.Ugen Dophu, NCDE Vice Chair & Secretary of the Ministry of Health Royal Government of Bhutan.
With less than 50 malaria cases reported this year and high-level, multi-sectoral commitment to elimination, Bhutan is on track to wipe out malaria for good.