Boost to Bhutan’s Healthcare: New Specialists Graduate to Serve Nation

In a significant stride towards bolstering Bhutan’s healthcare landscape, Khesar Gyalpo University of Medical Sciences of Bhutan (KGUMSB) celebrated the graduation of 14 new specialists on June 28. This cohort, comprising experts across vital medical disciplines, marks a pivotal moment in the country’s ongoing efforts to enhance healthcare accessibility and quality.

Founded in 2014, the Faculty of Postgraduate Medicine at KGUMSB has been instrumental in training and nurturing medical specialists. With the recent graduation, the institution has now produced a total of 77 specialists, contributing substantially to addressing the critical shortage of healthcare professionals in Bhutan.

Among the freshly minted specialists are two gynaecologists, two emergency physicians, three ophthalmologists, two paediatricians, two medical specialists, one ENT surgeon, one orthopaedic surgeon, and a general practitioner. Each of these specialists brings a unique set of skills and expertise crucial for comprehensive patient care nationwide.

Dr. Sandip Tamang, an ophthalmologist and one of the graduates, highlighted the transformative impact of specialized training on healthcare delivery. Previously serving as a General Duty Medical Officer in Chukha, Dr. Tamang witnessed firsthand the strain on healthcare professionals due to a scarcity of specialists. He emphasized how the addition of trained specialists will alleviate this burden, enhancing patient care and operational efficiency across healthcare facilities.

“The placement of specialists in various regions and at the national referral hospital is a strategic move to ensure equitable healthcare access,” remarked Dr. Tamang. He noted that improved remuneration and career advancement opportunities have been pivotal in retaining healthcare professionals—a critical concern amidst the sector’s high attrition rates.

Despite these strides, Bhutan’s healthcare sector continues to face challenges. Health Minister reports indicate shortages of 69 specialists, 103 doctors, and 824 nurses, underscoring the urgent need for sustained investment and training initiatives.

Dr. Tamang stressed the importance of creating robust career pathways and fostering continuous professional development to retain healthcare talent. “Medical professionals thrive when they have opportunities to grow and excel,” he affirmed, calling for expanded educational platforms and awareness campaigns to empower healthcare workers in remote districts.

Looking ahead, the graduation of these specialists signifies not just an academic achievement but a renewed commitment towards building a resilient and responsive healthcare system in Bhutan. As the nation continues to navigate healthcare challenges, investments in education, retention strategies, and infrastructural development will be crucial in securing a healthier future for all Bhutanese citizens.

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