Following the strike in medical colleges in Sri Lanka and India, which lead to the disruption of classes of 127 Bhutanese medical students studying there, the government is looking at instituting an in-country MBBS degree.
Based on reports the Education Minister Lyonpo Norbu Wangchuk said the colleges, which were shut down, are unlikely to reopen. Subsequently, he said, the challenge remains in acquiring seats in other countries and colleges due to stringent admission policies. “Therefore, the government has insisted that the health and education ministry work a solution,” he said.
Lyonpo Norbu Wangchuk said the education and health ministries along with other relevant stakeholders has instituted a taskforce to study the matter and a proposal to introduce an in-country MBBS course under Khesar Gyalpo University of Medical Studies was formed and submitted to the cabinet.
He said the cabinet considered the proposal, which is to be followed by the study on usage of Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH) as a teaching hospital as required for the course to be instituted. Lyonpo Norbu Wangchuk said the usage of the JDWNRH as a dedicated teaching hospital can contribute to leverage on the recourses of facility requirement and the specialists involved with JDWNRH. He said the study is in process and will be resubmitted.
However, as the hospital already serves as a teaching hospital to the existing KGUMS, the health minister Lyonpo Tandin Wangchuk said the additional huge number of 127 medical students can be a challenge as the main purpose of JDWNRH is for treatment.
He said the health ministry and JDWNRH are studying the possibilities to ease the challenge. “It isn’t easy to start a MBBS course, but the need has become critical considering the shortage of doctors being faced currently and over the past years and if there are such irregularities with colleges outside there will be huge shortage in future,” he said.
“As said by the education minister introducing the course is seen as the best solution to prevail over the existing situation of disrupted study of medical students in India,” he said. “It is also a huge opportunity for us to start the course.”