Jigmi Wangdi

In a significant move to enhance medical services in Bhutan, plans are underway to establish a burn unit at the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH) in Thimphu.

This collaborative initiative between Bangladesh and Bhutan marks a milestone in the two countries’ bilateral cooperation.

To commemorate the 77th birth anniversary of Bangladesh’s Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, a team of medical experts arrived in Bhutan for a three-day plastic surgery camp that commenced on September 28.

During this three-day camp, the medical team is collaborating with Bhutanese surgeons and medical personnel to provide treatment to burn victims and patients with facial deformities.

On the first day of the camp, the team successfully performed surgeries on six patients. The team anticipates treating approximately 15 patients suffering from burn injuries and physical deformities during the entire camp.

Dr Samanta Lal Sen, the leader of the medical team from Bangladesh, mentioned that the idea of conducting a plastic surgery camp in Bhutan was discussed with Bhutan’s Prime Minister, Dr Lotay Tshering.

Dr Sen expressed concerns about the inadequate facilities for burn victims and plastic surgery at JDWNRH. He also highlighted the potential for Bhutanese doctors to receive training in plastic surgery in Bangladesh, and for Bangladeshi doctors to provide training in Bhutan.

Dr Sen emphasized that the cases being addressed during the camp are complex and often require surgeries lasting up to five hours. “We are not just treating burn victims; some patients have palatal fistula, nasal deformities, and congenital anomalies,” he noted.

The Ambassador of Bangladesh to Bhutan, Shib Nath Roy, highlighted the longstanding ties between Bangladesh and Bhutan, which go beyond diplomatic relations.

He recalled Bhutan’s pivotal role in recognising Bangladesh as an independent country in 1971 under the leadership of His Majesty the Third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck.

Ambassador Roy explained that the strong relationship between the two countries motivated Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to contribute to the development of Bhutan’s medical services.

“Our Prime Minister desires to establish a burn unit here. And if the Bhutanese government agrees to it and has patients suffering from burns or deformities, we will draw up a first-ever MOU to establish a burn unit here in Bhutan,” he said

The launch of the camp was celebrated with a small ceremony, which included felicitations to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. The event was attended by Wangchuk Namgyel, the Speaker of the National Assembly, along with dignitaries, officials from the health ministry, and medical experts from Bhutan.

The Bangabandhu International Plastic Surgery camp was organised by the Embassy of Bangladesh, marking a significant step in the collaboration between the two nations to advance medical care in Bhutan.