I am pleased to be here today for the First Convocation of our Medical University.

Growing up, I recall the stories when the first hospital was being built, during the time of His Late Majesty King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. It was such an important endeavour that His Late Majesty dedicated time and personal effort to oversee the project.

Our forefathers would certainly be pleased with our achievements. Over the centuries and across generations, our ancestors have worked single-mindedly to secure our sovereignty, unity, harmony, and prosperity for all. Due to their sacrifices, we have been empowered to create a life of peace and happiness for ourselves, and for future generations.

In these noble efforts, special attention was placed on the development of education and healthcare. The Medical University is a culmination of all the efforts that have been put into these two important areas.

I extend my Tashi Delek to our 452 graduates, and express my gratitude to the professors, doctors and government officials as we mark the successful completion of your studies.

Let me take this opportune moment to share some of my personal reflections, which come to mind when I think of the health sector.

Quality! It’s easy to begin any work and even easier if we want to achieve mediocracy. However, if we want to see steady progress and constant improvement, we have to be prepared to shoulder greater responsibility. Healthcare is very important for each and every person, and we cannot fail in our endeavour to continuously improve the quality of our healthcare services.

Another area of concern is Sustainability. We have as a nation, made a commitment to providing free healthcare to the people of Bhutan. This is an enormous undertaking, requiring large resources. Even if we are able to manage it for now, I am concerned about how we will be able to continue to provide free and quality healthcare.

For sustainable development and dynamic economic growth, first and foremost, our people must enjoy good health. Therefore it is our collective responsibility to formulate intelligent and innovative plans and policies, to ensure that the people of Bhutan will always have equal access to quality healthcare.

We are a small, mountainous, landlocked, sparsely populated country, located between populous and economic giants, existing in a world that is characterized by uncertainty amidst a rapidly changing environment. The only way we can navigate safely and successfully into the future is by being diligent, sharp, and steadfast. It is important that we always support and encourage those who are intelligent and competent. We must always remember to be a society that values talent.

Healthcare personnel have been entrusted with an important responsibility, and as such, should enjoy the support of the government and the state.

I have always spoken about the importance of our cultural heritage. Today, it would be prudent of us to pay attention to the culture related to our workplace.

1. Professionalism: your conduct as you carry out your responsibility.

2. Hard work: the culture of carrying out every task before you, no matter the size or scope, with diligence.

3. Trustworthiness and reliability: It takes time and effort to be trustworthy and reliable. Trust will not emerge on it’s own, but have to be actively cultivated and nurtured.

In the 21st century, change is taking place at a phenomenal rate. Our healthcare institutions should be agile and receptive, in order to take advantage of opportunities, and respond to new challenges brought about by digital revolution, and progresses in medical science, technology, and practices. Of all our institutions, it is vital that our education and healthcare be the most dynamic, responsive, and flexible. We have to establish a culture of being able to respond to changing times.

In conclusion, as citizens of a Buddhist nation, taking care of the ill and serving the needy are some of the most meritorious deeds. Therefore, on this auspicious occasion, I urge all of you to uphold your commitment to serve our people with utmost love and compassion.

I am truly delighted to meet all of you personally and share my thoughts.

Tashi Delek!