May 11, 2022

Supporting the Project for Eliminating Cervical Cancer

Toward the Promotion of Universal Health Coverage in Bhutan

Sustainable Patient-Centric Healthcare Global Health Social Contribution Healthcare

Universal Health Coverage (UHC) means that all individuals and communities receive the full spectrum of essential, quality health services without suffering financial hardship. Chugai is supporting the Bhutan Cervical Cancer Eradication Project to contribute to the further advancement of UHC in Bhutan.


Every year, 15 million people die from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) before the age of 70, with 86% of these premature deaths occurring in developing countries*1. Bhutan is no exception. In 2019, NCDs accounting for 71% of reported deaths, while cervical cancer remained as the most common cancer among Bhutanese women*2. According to Bhutan’s population based cancer registry, the age-adjusted incidence rate (AAR) is 20.5 per 100,000 women and the mortality rate is 4.7 per 100,000, among the highest rates in Asia*3. Given the increasing trend in NCDs, particularly cervical cancer, Bhutan committed to eliminating cervical cancer at the 72nd Session of the WHO Regional Committee on Cervical Cancer. The Ministry of Health is committed to the elimination of cervical cancer in Bhutan and has launched the Cervical Cancer Strategic Plan for 2019-2023. 

Eliminating cervical cancer in Bhutan

UHC is mandated in the Constitution of the Kingdom of Bhutan. Healthcare is primarily public, and all mainstream health services are provided free of charge by the government. Furthermore, the overall health strategy is guided by the national development approach of gross national happiness (GNH), which seeks to promote a balanced approach to human development* by emphasizing the non-economic aspects of social well-being. While Bhutan has made great strides in extending UHC to its citizens, cervical cancer services have not reached the entire country, and early diagnosis, treatment, and palliative care continue to be inadequate.

* For further details about human development, please refer to the following link.

Project Outline

The overall objective of the programme is to contribute to the elimination of cervical cancer in Bhutan by fully integrating its treatment into the government’s universal health coverage. Specific objectives and details are as follows.


  • Scaling up and fully integrating HPV vaccination delivery into the health system
  • Scaling up of cervical cancer screening and early diagnosis activities as part of comprehensive cervical cancer control programmes


  •  In 3 years, the programme is expected reach over 190,000 girls and women through direct outreach camps and scaled up HPV testing
  •  In addition, the programme will build the capacity of healthcare providers in 48 hospitals and 186 primary healthcare centres

3 years from 05 July 2021

Programme Management
The overall implementation of the programme will be led by the Reproductive Health Programme of the Department of Public Health of Bhutan’s Ministry of Health.Overall designing of the programme and quality control including progress monitoring and reporting on results will be undertaken jointly by UNFPA and implementing partners.

Scene from the 2022 outreach camp

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