The shortage of medical specialist in the country is expected to ease when 61 doctors return as specialists by the end of 2021, five years later.

This was presented during the 4th biennial health conference this month. Of the total, surgeons top the list at nine, followed by seven gynaecologists and paediatricians each. The country will have six anesthesiologists and five orthopaedic surgeons, medical specialist and orthodontist each.

The list also includes four ophthalmologists, three pathologist and radiologist each, two oral surgeons and an ENT surgeon, rheumatologist, neurosurgeon, prosthodontist and emergency physician each.

Hospitals in the country will have three additional specialists by the end of this year and 16, next year.

The country will see the maximum number of specialists in 2019 with the graduation of 18 doctors as specialists in these five years.

Currently, the health sector has 67 specialists and 10 super specialists.

A health official said that a total of 137 health workers including 68 doctors, 18 technicians, 13 technologists and nurses each, six drungtshos, four health assistants and 15 other health workers are undergoing long-term studies. Training exceeding six months are termed as long-term training.

Meanwhile, 29 doctors who are selected for post-graduate courses are yet to go for their specialisation.

Between July 2015 and June 2017, the health ministry processed nominations for 1,120 health workers for training and meetings abroad. Of this, 983 were for short-term training (STT) and meetings.

Programme officers top the list among non-clinical staff, followed by engineers, planning officer and executives. Among the clinical staff, technicians top the list, followed by specialists and health assistants.

A total of 146 health workers from the dzongkhags were nominated for short-term training and meetings during this period.

Health workers in Trongsa had more opportunities to attend the meetings and STT in ex-countries with 15 health workers. While 13 and 12 health workers from Samdrupjongkhar and Samtse respectively got to attend the STT and meetings in the last two years.

Meanwhile, two health workers each from Thimphu, Gasa and Haa, the lowest among all dzongkhags, attended STT and meetings during this period.

Dechen Tshomo