To meet the shortage of doctors in the country

Health: To help resolve the issue of shortage of doctors and specialists in the country, 30 undergraduate scholarships in Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) were allotted this year.

Of the total 30 undergraduates, 20 will pursue their MBBS in Sri Lanka under government funding while five each will be sent to India and Bangladesh under the government and government of India funding.

The health sector is still short of 379 doctors, 147 specialists, 252 health assistants, 658 nurses and 865 technologists and technicians. There is also an equal demand for 31 drungtshos (doctors), 59 menpas (health workers)  and 18 super specialists.

Last year, the health ministry recruited 35 doctors including comprehensive general medicine and 74 professionals in various fields such as nursing, dental, pharmacy, public health and medical lab technology.

At the mid-term review (MTR) last month, the health ministry recommended increasing the intake of undergraduate scholarships for MBBS to reduce the shortage of doctors and specialists.

Director General of department of medical services Dr Ugen Dophu during the MTR said that the ministry would propose for 30 MBBS scholarships annually for the next five to seven years.

Besides meeting the shortage of doctors, awarding 30 slots every year is also expected to meet the ministry’s plan to make three doctors available in every dzongkhag hospitals.

At the MTR, Lyonchoen Tshering Tobgay said the ministry as of now has been able to send three doctors each only in 12 dzongkhags. Lyonchoen also reiterated the need to work towards equipping hospitals in remaining eight dzongkhags with at least three doctors.

Lyonchoen also emphasized the need to send nurses to 71 Basic Health Unit grade II.

To resolve the issue of shortage of specialists, the health ministry also proposed increasing the monthly salary to USD 2,500 from the existing USD 1,500 for expatriate medical professionals. So far, eight specialists have resigned and five are on the extraordinary leave.

Besides sending 30 undergraduates for MBBS, ministry also proposed to send 21 medical professionals for specialization in pharmacy and medical lab technology, among others.

Tempa Wangdi