As the lockdown continues, Bhutan Cancer Society completes 4 weeks of volunteer duty at the oncology ward. Our primary duty as volunteer was to help patients and their caregivers get to and from chemotherapy, cancer treatment. Together with Bhutan Kidney Foundation, we committed ourselves to provide cancer and dialysis patients with safe and reliable transportation to their treatment appointments. We were able to serve 11 hours shift each day.

Despite the rapidly increasing COVID infection in the community, we had 7 weeks without a single case of infection amongst the patients we ferried. Our gratitude to all the patients for strictly following COVID protocols and keeping themselves safe. We would also like to extend our appreciation to Jigme Dorji Wangchuk National Referral Hospital JDWNRH and Kidu Medical Services for supplying PPE for the entire duration.

During these seven weeks of volunteer duty (4&5 Lockdown combined), we had the privilege of listening to personal accounts of people affected by cancer and their story of perseverance and hope. It also provided us with incredible opportunity to get to know the person beyond their disease. Additionally, based on the interaction we realized the need for open forum to listen to concerns and queries in relation to their disease and treatment especially during COVID times. A group called “Friends of Bhutan Cancer Society” was created beginning of the 5th lockdown and currently has more than 70 members. This will allow us to enhance our response abilities and extend necessary support/services.

Due to the high risk of contagion, people with comorbidities are isolated and cared for in an identified facilities/ their homes. In addition, safe transport services for this group will be arranged by Kidu Medical Services. BCS is assisting oncology ward to contact patients and conduct assessment to identify and help provide necessary support for people in need.

BCS will be available to help connect patients with support services and assist patients navigate the health care system.