U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Patricia A. Lacina Visits Bhutan to Commemorate U.S.-Bhutan COVID-19 Partnership

New Delhi:  During her visit to Bhutan, from September 26-October 1, 2022, U.S. Chargé d’Affaires joined Minister of Agriculture and Forests Lyonpo Yeshey Penjor in a ceremonial event to commemorate years of successful U.S.- Bhutan partnership in health leading up to and combating the COVID-19 pandemic. CDA Lacina also met Health Minister Lyonpo Dechen Wangmo to discuss bilateral cooperation on COVID-19 and congratulated her for the exhaustive efforts made by Bhutan to combat the pandemic.

CDA Lacina commented, “Bhutan stands as a model on global health issues, a fact the whole world recognizes.  When the COVID pandemic struck, the government implemented a detailed plan to protect the country’s front-line health workers and safeguard its citizens.  The United States is proud to have supported Bhutan in this remarkable achievement, through U.S. government-provided vaccines and other assistance and through more than a decade of wide-ranging health cooperation.

In partnership with COVAX and the Bhutan Foundation, the United States has provided more than 680,000 vaccine doses to Bhutan, including 51,480 doses of Pfizer vaccines that arrived on September 18, 2022.

For over a decade, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has collaborated with Royal Center for Disease Control (RCDC) of Bhutan’s Ministry of Health building capacity for influenza surveillance, pandemic preparedness, and influenza vaccine introduction, which was leveraged for COVID-19 response. Since the pandemic began, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and other U.S. government agencies have worked closely with Bhutan, bolstering Bhutan’s pandemic preparedness and response. USAID has also supported livelihood interventions for Bhutanese, focusing on women and youth, who experienced economic hardship during the pandemic.

Over the past 20 years, the United States has provided $9 million in foreign assistance to Bhutan. The U.S. government is partnering with Bhutan to prioritize COVID-19 relief and support to livelihoods, clean energy, disaster resilience, and in the recent past, forestry management, biodiversity conservation, and water security.