MoH propagates healthy eating practices in official gatherings

DoPH’s officiating director Rixin Jamtsho and doctors sensitize the participants from various organizations on healthy eating

These are initiatives to help prevent diseases and deaths currently linked with unhealthy diets

LHAKPA TSHERING

Thimphu

Public meetings and gatherings, such as among government agencies, corporations, CSOs, and monastic, public, and financial institutions are ideal platforms to spread the message of healthy eating practices.

To promote and implement healthier diet patterns in official setups, the Department of Public Health (DoPH) under the Ministry of Health (MoH) conducted a half-day sensitization workshop on healthy eating with representatives from various organizations on 24 May.

DoPH’s officiating director, Rixin Jamtsho, says that there is a need to address unhealthy dietary patterns to help prevent annual deaths currently caused by unhealthy diets.

“As the country grapples with the growing instances of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as pressure, diabetes, cancers, and kidneys over the years, our health system could be burdened with these diseases in the future,” he said.

“Our country will graduate from the least developed countries (LDC) next year but we are still lagging to prevent these diseases,” he said, adding there won’t be any more external support for such programs after graduation.

With that concern in mind, he says, timely intervention can prevent the leading causes of preventable deaths. “Healthier diet patterns can also reduce pressure on the hospitals and overseas referrals,” he added.

Rixin Jamtsho said that NCDs contribute between 69 to 70 percent of annual deaths, with about 15 deaths every month because of alcohol. “It is a matter of concern and healthy eating practices are needed to be implemented,” he said.

In creating a healthy eating environment and increasing your people’s knowledge and awareness of healthy food and nutrition, he said, the plan is to include healthy food practices in the Individual Work Plan (IWP).

“We will advocate all local governments and dzongkhags on prevention of NCDs through healthy eating so that they can take the responsibility to further disseminate the same advocacy and awareness in their localities and communities,” he said.

“We have learned so much from the pandemic. We have to translate it into action. I feel there is nothing we cannot do if we really implement Covid-19 experiences for other diseases,” says Rixin Jamtsho.

Meanwhile, the officials from the public health department also presented the situations on prevention of NCDs, HIV, nutrition, and tuberculosis (TB) in the country.

The participants are expected to further sensitize and disseminate the same advocacy and awareness on healthy eating practices and the importance of living a healthy life to their respective management and office colleagues and advocate for healthy eating.

Currently, about 86.4 percent of the Bhutanese population do not consume the WHO recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables but have a high intake of salt, thus resulting in the rising problem of diet-related NCDs.