Nima Wangdi

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) will sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the United Kingdom (UK) to provide employment to Bhutanese nurses.

Foreign minister Dr Tandin Dorji said this during the ‘Fridays for Health’ programme at the Ministry of Health (MoH) yesterday. “It is a good deal and countries like the UK, Australia, and Canada have requested nurses from us.”

He said that Bhutan was facing an unemployment problem. “To solve this, we can train our young people as doctors, nurses, health professionals, physiotherapists, and technicians and send them to work.”

He claimed that based on his long career in different hospitals in the country, Bhutanese as Buddhists are compassionate by nature. “The care and skills of our nurses are truly amazing.”

Lyonpo Dr Tandi Dorji said that nurses could go to the UK and come back with skills after working for three to five years. “This is the reason why we made a request with the Ministry of Health and removed science background requirements for those wanting to join GNM diploma courses.”

He said that for those intending to pursue a bachelors degree, either a science background or diploma in health is required. “People might worry about losing our nurses with this programme but we can set our own protocols. Those who have studied in private institutes and have no obligation to work for government hospitals can continue going abroad.”

Explaining what the MoFA is doing for the health sector, Lyonpo said he requested that institutes increase their intake, as jobs are practically guaranteed. “We will get the same deal with Australia and Canada.”

Talking on the topic “Visioning the Health Sector in the Post-pandemic era” Lyonpo said private health practices should be allowed in the country. “People express their worry of losing doctors to private hospitals and the breeding of illegal practices but a good monitoring system in place can prevent them.”

He also said a private health practice from one room is unacceptable but at least at a hospital-level practice should be allowed. “The law requires a private hospital to be of a five-star standard.”

Lyonpo said the Prime Minister has asked Druk Holding and Investments (DHI) to invest in a private hospital and run it. “Rather than giving hospital licence to individuals, it should be given to DHI which is a semi-government organization.” 

Meanwhile, ‘Fridays for Health’ is a programme that will take health officials beyond the four walls of their cubicles and create a free and open learning atmosphere, according to MoH officials.  

The programme will be organized on one of the Fridays every month and there will be a speaker. It is being organized with support from the WHO Country Office.