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 the continual shortage of both doctors and other health professionals. Bhutan has 4.6 doctors and 20.9 nurses per 10,000 populations. In the Global health context, “SDG index threshold” for Universal Health Coverage indicated the minimum need of 4.5 doctors, nurses and midwives per 1000 population. While the internationally accepted standard of nurse-bed ratio is around 1:3 in teaching hospitals and 1:5 in general hospitals, JDWNRH has a nurse bed ratio of 1:6. And as per the MoH HRD Plan, our country needs to meet a gap of 195 GDMOs to be filled by 2026.
Also, with the upcoming of new specialized health centers such as 150 bedded Mother and Child Care Hospital, 20 bedded Eye Hospital, 20 bedded ENT hospital, Cancer Institute, Kidney and Dialysis Unit, National Infectious Disease Center at Gidakom and about ten Trauma and Emergency Centers, our country will be in shortage of more numbers of health workers. Therefore, even by crude calculation, Bhutan would require another 150 doctors to reach the minimum desired level of doctor to population ratio which is a standard norm of any medically sound nation.
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 the country to plan for health human resources and also the super specialized centres. In the coming years this will create a 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 an 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 medicines.
Therefore, The Royal Government of Bhutan, enacted the “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 university was offically established in 2013.
The University was renamed as the Khesar Gyalpo University of Medical Sciences of Bhutan by Her Gyaltsuen, The Queen of Bhutan on 28th February 2015 thereby befitting our King’s effort toward their selfless service to nation building.