Bhutan has made great strides in providing health care services and making remarkable contributions to the health and happiness of the people. However, the country is marred with continual shortage of both doctors and other health professionals. Bhutan has 2 doctors and 8 nurses per 10,000 population and is one of the lowest in the Region. While the internationally accepted standard of nurse-bed ratio is around 1:7, JDWNRH has nurse bed ratio of 1:17. Therefore, even by crude calculation, Bhutan would require another 150 doctors to reach the minimum desired level of doctor to population ratio.
Hence, the establishment of the Khesar Gyalpo University of Medical Sciences of Bhutan is not only necessary but a significant step towards accelerating and achieving self-sufficiency in health human resources to enhance the quality of future Bhutanese health care services by enabling country to plan for health human resources and also the super-specialized centres. In the coming years this will create new working place for a knowledge based society with teaching, learning and research activities, not only to serve the Bhutanese needs but also contribute to the global knowledge bank. Further, the medical university could also provide opportunity to develop training and research programs based on the latest principles, specific health needs and produce medical and health professionals who would embody the compassion, wisdom, values and traditions of the unique health care systems of Bhutan providing equal importance for both traditional and allopathic systems of medicine.
Therefore, The Royal Government of Bhutan, enacted “University of Medical Sciences Act of Bhutan (UMSB) 2012” on the 25th Day of the 11th Month of Iron Female Rabbit Year of the Bhutanese Calendar corresponding to 18th January 2012, which mandates the establishment of UMSB as an “overarching university for existing Institutions engaged in medical and health care education and training programs in the country and new institutions established hereinafter“.
The Khesar Gyalpo University of Medical Sciences (KGUMSB) of Bhutan was established in 2013 as per the University of Medical Sciences Act of Bhutan 2012. The University was renamed as the Khesar Gyalpo University of Medical Sciences of Bhutan by Her Gyaltsun, The Queen of Bhutan on 29th March 2015 thereby befitting our Kings effort toward their selfless service to nation building. His Majesty the King is the Chancellor of the University and is governed by the Governing Council with Hon’ble Prime Minister as the Chairperson. It has an Advisory Board with members from Bhutan as well as prominent professors from regional and international universities.
It consists of Faculty of Nursing and Public Health, Faculty of Traditional Medicine, Faculty of Postgraduate Medicine, Medical Education Centre for Research, Innovation and Training (MECRIT), and the Office of President. It was initially planned to establish MBBS program but due to inadequate manpower and other related issues, the program could not be started yet. However, KGUMSB plans to start MBBS degree program in the near future.
The University is mandated to provide quality medical and health education in Bhutan to address the shortage of healthcare workers and to address long-term needs of training of healthcare workforce at various levels (diplomas, bachelors to PhD degrees, and provision of continued medical education and specialized short-term trainings). The quality of health services depends on the quality of health workforce and therefore providing high-quality medication education to healthcare workers will ultimately contribute to improving patient care and other related healthcare services. A high-quality medical institution to produce highly skilled and competent health workers is a must for a country to provide a better health services to citizens on sustainable basis. KGUMSB’s ultimate goal are to provide world-class quality medical education using highly trained and skilled teachers, innovative teaching-learning technology and equipment, and contemporary curricula. It is aimed to make Bhutan not only self-sufficient in core health workforce but also create opportunities to export healthcare workers to other countries, as well as to attract foreign medical and healthcare students. Both national and foreign students can acquire some of the unique qualities of Bhutan such as teaching GNH and universal human values, apart from other soft skills so that all healthcare workers are trained to become good human being first and then impart their best technical knowledge and skills. The university will also contribute towards the national vision of making Bhutan a knowledge-based society.
The vision statement of KGUMSB states:
“A premier centre of excellence in medical education, research and quality healthcare.”
Its missions are:
- To develop state of art, learner-centered, integrated and humanistic training curricula that meets the health needs of people in consonance with the Human Values and Gross National Happiness
- To train and develop highly competent health human resource for provision of sustained high-quality patient-centered care and health services
- To contribute towards evidence-based health policies and practices through research and innovation.
The Khesar Gyalpo University of Medical Services will fulfil its aspirations in providing high-quality education, research and health care services based on the following five core values and principles:
- Professionalism in the delivery of services
- Respect to all the ecosystem of human, animal and nature encompassing all sentient beings
- Integrity and interdependence in fulfilling the aspirations of the university as one family
- Compassion in all services deliveries in consonance with the GNH values
- Enterprising through innovation, brand building and marketing strategies
Core Strategies Areas:
The KGUMSB strategic core areas’ acronym is “LHA-RIG” which mean wisdom of Gods in Bhutanese. It is this wisdom that will provide direction for the development to achieve its goals and vision and other aspirations.
- Learner-centered to provide state of the art health education
- Human resources that are competent and motivated to fulfil the university aspirations and goals
- Academic that encompasses intellectual content, address societal needs, and competency based
- Research that contributes to evidence-based teaching-learning practice, critical thinking, intellectual development, and to support informed policy decision to enhance the quality of healthcare services.
- Infrastructure and resources that supports and creates a conducive environment for student growth, academic learning, research and provision of high-quality patient care services
- Good Governance that promotes professionalism, transparency, efficiency, accountability and establishment of excellent national and international networks.