Other areas of collaboration include cultural preservation and emergency medical services

Partnership: Agreements for four projects to improve public health, cultural preservation, and emergency medical services in Bhutan were signed between the Bhutan Foundation, Gross National Happiness Commission (GNHC) and three implementing partners on June 6.

These projects are components of a larger five-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the Bhutan Foundation and GNHC in August 2015.

The MoU enables the Bhutan Foundation and the GNHC to cooperate and advance the government’s efforts to bring about positive change in the lives of the Bhutanese people.

The projects will support the restoration of Drametse Lhakhang in Mongar. The project period is expected to be around seven months until December this year with funding assistance from Bhutan Foundation of around Nu 2.4 million (M).

The restoration of Drametse Lhakhang is an ongoing project that has been partially funded by the Prince Claus Fund and the World Monument Fund, through the Bhutan Foundation, with two fund installments amounting to Nu 3.8M already released in the past for the development of the Shabkor or the peripheral structures surrounding the courtyard, consisting of classrooms, residences and administrative offices.

The final installment of Nu 2.4M will be used for the renovation of the Utse along with financial assistance from the government.

The projects will support the Khesar Gyalpo University of Medical Sciences of Bhutan (KGUMSB) with regard to health research and conducting of health check ups for nomad communities. A sum of Nu 3.4 million was committed to support the two critical projects.

Out of the total amount, a sum of Nu 3.1M will support three key areas of health research, which include the publication of the Bhutan Health Journal (3rd and 4th edition), building capacity of local researchers and promoting research and scientific publications.

By supporting these main areas, Bhutan Foundation, in collaboration with KGUMSB, aims to promote academic excellence at the University as well as in Bhutan through good publications and foster quality scientific publications in Bhutan.

The remaining funds of Nu 246,062 will support the nomad health check-up in Soe gewog under Thimphu.

Following the successful health campaign in 2015 during the Jomolhari Festival, Bhutan Foundation and the Faculty of Nursing and Public Health under the University will continue phase two of this project, which includes data collection and analysis.

The objective of this project is to obtain baseline health status to identify specific health needs of the community and develop holistic interventions.

The projects will also support the health ministry in improving emergency medical services in Bhutan. The Emergency Medical Services programme is a joint and continuous effort from Bhutan Foundation and the health ministry to strengthen the capacity of health workers to provide emergency medical services, build local training capacity on emergency care and develop trauma management systems.

Bhutan Foundation has committed funding of Nu 10.7M over the three-year period to support activities such as capacity building of the doctors and nurses in the emergency services, training and certification of Bhutanese doctors to be instructors, provide necessary medical equipment, and establish a trauma registry, among others.

Staff reporter