A team from Interplast Australia and New Zealand in collaboration with the health ministry will conduct plastic and reconstructive surgery camp at the national referral hospital from April 9 to 20.

Another team from the non-profit organisation in Australia will also conduct the surgery camp at the eastern regional referral hospital in Mongar from April 15 to 19.

Experts from Interplast consisting of plastic and reconstructive surgeons, anaesthetists, nurses and hand therapists along with the national doctors will conduct the surgical and hand therapy services in Thimphu and Mongar.

The Department of Medical Services with the health ministry issued a circular to medical superintendents at the referral hospitals and all the Chief Medical Officers requesting the respective hospitals to register all the people with congenital anomalies of the hand, the head and neck, including cleft lip and pallet.

“We would like to inform the respective hospitals to inform the community regarding the upcoming camp to have a wider coverage of the prospective people with above problems,” the circular states.

Interplast organises reconstructive plastic surgeries in developing countries in the Southeast Asia region.

Orthopaedic surgeon, Dr Sonam Dorji, in an earlier interview with Kuensel, said that the national referral hospital does not have a full-fledged plastic surgery department, which is why the team visits Bhutan to not only take up complicated plastic and reconstructive surgeries, but also assist in developing local plastic surgery capacity as they work in close coordination with local surgeons.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between the health ministry and Interplast Australia and New Zealand where two more parties, the Khesar Gyalpo University of Medical Sciences of Bhutan (KGUMSB) and Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH), are involved.

With the signing of the MoU, Interplast visits the country twice a year to conduct plastic and restorative surgical camp.

To date, Interplast has delivered three surgical mentoring programmess and three hand therapy mentoring programmes to Bhutan.

The team last visited the country in October 2017 where the team saw around 200 patients. This will be the seventh Interplast visit to Bhutan.

Dechen Tshomo