Only three months’ time before the first ever medical college in Bhutan starts operating and the initial DPR (Detailed Project Report) based on the MCI (Medical Council of India) has revised the requirements for the UMSB (University of Medical Sciences of Bhutan), formerly known as the BIMS (Bhutan Institutes of Medical Sciences).
This was done in the second PIA (Project Implementation Authority) meeting held in New Delhi on February 21 and 22.
The signing of MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) on the establishment of UMSB was reviewed keeping in mind the health scenario in India.
If there is a shortage of trained health professionals in India, Bhutan will look into recruiting some from other countries.
Apart from this, UMSB Project Manager Yenten Jamtsho, said that number of laboratories for teaching purposes has been cut down from 14 to 8 laboratories since MCI found that half the number is more than sufficient to meet the requirement of the institute.
The two governments will be signing the revised MoU by the first week of April.
The nomenclature was revised to UMSB to broaden the scope of the institution as a deemed university, which will have over-arching jurisdiction for existing institutions to be established in the country in the future but the term will be retained to represent the medical faculty under UMSB.
Keeping in view the time constraints and the government’s urgency to launch the institute, board members agreed on the immediate requirements of the institute such as human resources, refurbishment of the old Thimphu hospital, procurement of equipments and furniture.
The Project Manager Yenten Jamtsho said human resources are the main concern in establishing the medical college. “Bhutanese doctors are not trained to teach,” he said adding therefore some of them have been sent outside for certain courses which will enable them to impart their knowledge to health trainees.
He said at the pre-clinical phase, the teaching faculties or the professors on deputation will be from India adding “initially we expect support from GOI (Government of India) for funding as well as for the teaching staff.”
He also said that to attract and retain specialists, they need to be paid well and have other benefits like social security or insurance after their retirement like in other countries.
Meanwhile the teaching faculty and the students will be accommodated in rented rooms until the college at Wangchutaba is completed.
Skeptics have raised the question why start a medical school first and develop its faculty later, he said. “In an ideal situation we need to first have the faculty and then go for training but this is an acceptable trend across the globe; it’s an issue but not a big challenge, the training staff need to be given short courses,” he added.
To begin its academic session this year, 50% of refurbishment works have been completed in the old Thimphu hospital and will be ready by May.