DHARAMSHALA: The Department of Health, Central Tibetan Administration organised a workshop on adolescent health for Tibetan students attending the leadership summit at the Lower TCV School.
The one-and-a-half-day long workshop came on the heels of the student leadership summit, which concluded yesterday. The health workshop was presided over by Health Kalon Dr. Tsering Wangchuk, Health Secretary Mr. Tsegyal Dranyi, Ms. Trinley Palmo and officials from the health department.
A new website tibetanhealth.org was also launched on the occasion, along with the 2nd edition of Rewa– a Sexual Health Education Book.
Addressing the students, Kalon Tsering Wangchuk talked about the changes that take place during early adolescence and how it affects a person’s entire life. “Throughout our lives we grow and change, but during adolescence the rate of change is especially evident. The changes that take place are physical, emotional and cognitive, and it is really important to understand these changes to ensure a healthy and prosperous life,” he said, encouraging the students to confide in their friends or their school health workers when they face any adolescent problems.
The health Kalon also spoke on the crucial role played by doctors, nurses and other health workers in alleviating the sufferings of the masses. “ I am sure there are a lot of future doctors, nurses and pharmacists among you today. It is really important to have such goals in life,” he said, and urged them to continue their hard work to become successful.
Speaking about the importance of working hard, he said “Last year, we lost some MBBS reserved seats. But that’s all right. What we have to understand is that we have to keep working hard. You can appear for MBBS exams again even if you couldn’t clear it the first time. So, don’t give up.”
Explaining the low number of doctors serving in the Tibetan community, he said “currently, we have 20 Tibetan doctors including myself serving in various Tibetan hospitals. However, we still need more doctors and health professionals,” he said. He admitted that despite the health department’s best efforts to woo doctors to come and serve in the community, there is some reluctance from their side. ” However, in the last two-three years, there is an optimistic trend where many MBBS graduates have started to come back after their courses to serve in our hospitals as a result of our efforts,” he said.
He explained the 3-year bond service (contract) terms for Tibetan students pursuing MBBS course under the Department of Education’s scholarship scheme. The bond binds the students in a contract wherein the students are obligated to serve the Tibetan community for three years following the completion of their course. ” However, the bond service is reduced to two years for those who are willing to serve in the remote Tibetan settlements,” the Health Kalon explained.
Kalon Tsering Wangchuk also gave a brief introduction of the Health Department and its major objectives. He said the two major objectives of the department are to provide preventive and curative healthcare, i.e. preventive healthcare through promotion of a healthy lifestyle, and curative healthcare through its health care centers.
He spoke about the various programs of the department including mother and child health program, disease control program, oral hygiene program, and Ngoenga school, a school for Tibetan children with special needs at Dehradun, governed by the department.
Kalon also spoke about the importance of sexual health particularly during adolescence. He spoke about Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs,) and unhealthy relationships between children and elders, which could lead to sexual violence and molestations. He called for the need to sensitise these issues in schools and urged the students to open up about such occurrences to their family, teachers or peers.
He concluded his address by emphasising that the future of Tibet rests on the younger generation of the Tibetan people particularly those currently in schools. He reiterated the Kashag’s commitment towards education and academic excellence to the students. However, he said, to achieve this goal, we need a physically, mentally and environmentally healthy person. That’s where, the department of Health comes in, he added.
Health Secretary Mr. Tsegyal Dranyi spoke about the overall importance of health and a healthy lifestyle. He also spoke about Sowa Rigpa, the traditional Tibetan medical science to boost physical and mental health.
The Department of Health of the Central Tibetan Administration was first established in 1981 to cater to the healthcare needs of the Tibetan refugees residing in India, Nepal and Bhutan. The Department is registered in the name of Tibetan Voluntary Health Association (TVHA). Currently, there are 7 hospitals, 4 Primary Health Centers and 43 clinics located in all the refugee settlements in India and Nepal with 174 medical staff and 68 administrative staff working under it.