In keeping with the Constitutional requirement, we continued to provide free healthcare to the people.
The PDP government expanded health services by building six new hospitals and 28 Basic Health Units (BHUs). We now have a total of 32 hospitals and 208 BHUs in the country.
We also brought about marked improvements in addressing the shortage of health workers. The total number of doctors increased from 203 in 2013 to 345 in 2018. Except for Gasa and Haa, all the district hospitals now have a minimum of three doctors each. We also doubled the number of nurses and health assistants from 1,254 in 2013 to 2,364 in 2018, with most BHUs having at least one female health assistant.
We also initiated the construction of Gelephu Central Referral Hospital, which is now completed.
Today, 118 ambulances cater to the people and about half of these were acquired in the past five years. We initiated helicopter services for medical emergencies and evacuations. The helicopter service has been extremely beneficial. So far 368 medical evacuations have been carried out, some providing services to the most difficult and the remotest of terrains.
An achievement that must be highlighted is the status of the Health Trust Fund. We doubled the Fund from Nu 1.2 billion to Nu 2.3 billion. This increase ensures that current and future generations continue to receive free medicine.
With continuous improvement and priority accorded to our healthcare system, our national life expectancy has reached 70.2 years from 66.3 years in 2005.