His Majesty The King and Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen graced the first convocation ceremony of Khesar Gyalpo University of Medical Sciences of Bhutan‘s (KGUMSB) 452 graduates in Thimphu yesterday.

According to the university’s president, Dr K P Tshering, about 90 percent of the graduates were employed.

Initially established to address the shortage of health professionals, the president said the university did not bring much changes in terms of the quantity.

“However, progressive changes have been achieved through quality improvement, expansion and consolidation of existing programmes, diversification and introduction of new programmes that match the job market in the country,” he said.

A surgeon at Gelephu central regional referral hospital, Dr Thukten Chophel, was among the graduates who attended the first convocation.

Dr Thukten Chophel specialised in general surgery and graduated in June last year.

The university has so far produced its first batch of eight specialists in five disciplines.

According to Dr Thukten Chophel, the main intention to pursue postgraduate programme at home was because Bhutan now had a medical university. “Moreover, studying here provides a platform for medical professionals to learn and develop their skills as well as provide services to the patients.”

This way, health professionals can strengthen health care services as per the needs of the patients, he added.

Established in February 2015, KGUMSB offered bachelors and diploma courses to 27 persons in two traditional medicine disciplines, certificate, diploma and bachelor programme to 392 in 10 nursing and public health disciplines.

Twenty-five nurses received diploma in general nursing and midwifery from a private college, Reldri Academy of Health Science, which is affiliated with KGUMSB.

In addition to five existing programmes in postgraduate medicine, six new programmes including Orthopedics, Otorhinolaryngology and Psychiatry were introduced.

Currently, the university has 36 general medical officers specialising in 11 programmes.

The president said, “We expect to produce more than 100 specialists in a decade to meet the requirement.”

The shortage of health professionals would be addressed through nursing and midwifery courses in the private colleges, he added.

The university is currently planning to start master’s degree in Traditional Medicine and to introduce Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery in the 12th Plan.

Today, the university has four programmes and 92 students in Faculty of Traditional medicine and 435 students pursuing bachelor and diploma courses in nursing, public health and allied health sciences.

The university book “The Key Moments” which encapsulates the journey from conception of the idea to the establishment of the first medical university in the country was also launched.

Chimi Dema