Health: To ensure the continuous professional development of health workers in the country, the Faculty of Nursing and Public Health under the Khesar Gyalpo University of Medical Sciences of Bhutan (KGUMSB) launched the online Continuing Medical Education (CME) programme yesterday in Thimphu.

The programme is introduced to help health professionals maintain their competency and explore new awareness in their respective fields.

The programme coordinator, Tshering said that the online platform was provided to address the accessibility barrier to knowledge, especially to those health workers who do not have access to such facilities.

Tshering said that the Bhutan Medical and Health Council regulation requires all categories of health professionals to maintain a minimum of six credits of CME every year for the renewal of their registration.

Although the health ministry currently conducts CME for the medical and health workers employed in the government health centres, not everyone can attend the full-time course on campus, said Tshering.

“Some of the workers maintain the required credits through free online CME, however, these CMEs are not accessible to everyone,” said Tshering.

Officials from the university said that most of the registered members do not meet the required CME credits for the renewal of registration, which prohibits renewal especially for those employed in the private health centres, health professionals in the armed forces, certificate level  professionals and those in the traditional medicine system.

As an alternative form of CME, the online virtual learning platform is targeted towards assisting the health assistants and nurses working in the community and district health centres for now.

To begin with, the university has developed three CME modules in the field of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria using the software: MOODLE.

Tshering said that based on the response from the current programme, facilities and modules can be extended to other categories of health workers with technical inputs from respective subject specialists.

Meanwhile, the second issue of Bhutan Health Journal was also launched yesterday. The journal is the only scientific medical journal in the country, which is internationally reviewed.

The journal this year focuses on the Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) and its prevalence in the country. Some of the NCD researched in the journal includes incidence of congenital heart diseases in children, the national oral health survey report and predictors of multiple sexual partnerships in urban towns in Bhutan.

Dr Karma Tenzin said the journal is launched to facilitate the development of a research culture among health scientists and teaching faculties.

“It is also to promote academic excellence and enhance health research activities at the university,” said Dr Karma Tenzin. “The journal should contribute in the exchange of knowledge both at the local and international levels.”

The journal was published with support from the Bhutan Foundation, an American non-profit organisation.

Health minister, Tandin Wangchuk launched the programmes.

Younten Tshedup