Program Overview – Malaria
The Global Fund against HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria funded program for Malaria is managed by Vector-borne Disease Control Programme (VDCP), Department of Public Health, Ministry of Health in Bhutan.
Malaria is a major public health concern in Bhutan, affecting more than 70 percent of the country’s population and putting people in 15 of the country’s 20 districts at risk of becoming infected. Malaria is considered endemic in five districts which border on the Indian states of West Bengal and Assam.
Malaria programme in Bhutan was started in 1964 as National Malaria Eradication Programme (NMEP). The main prevention and control strategy, then, was active surveillance, case management, and vector control by Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) with DDT. Later was renamed as National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP). Since 2003 the programme has been functioning under the name of Vector-borne Disease Control Programme (VDCP) and also looks after other mosquito borne diseases. The prevalent vector borne diseases in Bhutan are malaria, dengue. Visceral leishmaniasis (Kala azar) and Japanese encephalitis. Malaria cases have been reported since 1965. The first dengue outbreak in Bhutan was reported in July 2004. In July 2007 about 12 (kala azar) cases have been documented from the Eastern dzongkhags of Tashigang, Tashiyangtse and Mongar. A few sporadic cases of Japanese encephalitis have been treated in the referral hospitals in the last few years.
As significant reduction in malaria was achieved in 1998 Indoor residual spraying (IRS) was completely phased out and replaced by Insecticide Treated Bed Nets (ITBN) in phased manner till 2003. In 2004 focal IRS was also done for one round as the coverage with Insecticide treated nets was very low. The programme as well as the communities faced several challenges and difficulties as the bed nets had to be re impregnated twice a year at 6 monthly intervals as a result of which significant malaria control could not be achieved in spite of all efforts.
In 2006 with support from the Global Fund the malaria prevention and control strategies have been scaled up and newer tools (new drug Artemether-Lumefantrine and Long Lasting Insecticide-treated Nets) highly recommended for prevention and control globally were introduced. Scaled up interventions in Bhutan resulted in significant decline in malaria cases in Bhutan.
The broad aim of the program supported by the Global Fund is to create a link between the country’s health sector and the community by involving the malaria-prone populations. The following are the service delivery area:
Prevention: Insecticide-treated nets (ITNs)
Supportive environment: Monitoring insecticide resistance
The Global Fund support to the Malaria program to implement its activities first started with Round 4 from 01 April 2005 – 31 March 2010 with the grant # BTN-405-G01-M. The total amount signed was US$ 1,343,198. The grant has been consolidated with BTN-708-G05-M.
The Round 7, grant agreement # BTN-708-G05-M, titled, “Strengthening Malaria Prevention and Control in Bhutan” which began from 01 July 2008. The total signed amount is US$ 2,646,162 and is in the 2nd Phase.
VDCP is currently implementing Transitional Funding Mechanism (TFM) grant.
For more information on VDCP please click here
Contact person(s) :
Mr. Rinzin Namgay
Chief Program Officer, VDCP, DoPH
Ministry of Health
Telephone: +975 17816200
Dy. Chief Program Officer, VDCP, DoPH
Ministry of Health
Telephone: +975 17604363