Health: A 22-member eye surgery team from the Department of Ophthalmology, Chulalongkorn University (CU), King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital in Thailand and the Thai Red Cross Society are in the country for a weeklong surgery and check-up camp.

The team that includes eight ophthalmologists, 11 nurses and two volunteers have set up camps in the Thimphu and Paro hospitals. On their first day, some 656 patients were attended to by the team.

The team is here to commemorate the birth of HRH The Gyalsey Jigme Namgyel Wangchuck and the 84th Birth Anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit of Thailand.

CU dean of medicine Suttipong Wacharasindhu said the team will conduct eye operations on the elderly especially those with cataracts. “Along with the surgery we’ll also be providing other medical services to the patients and also share experience and knowledge with the health workers in the two hospitals,” he said.

Suttipong Wacharasindhu said that in Thimphu the team is expecting more complicated cases. “As a member of the Thai Red Cross Society it is our responsibility to not only work for the Thai society but also deliver services internationally.”

The team is also exploring measures to draft a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for academic collaboration between CU and the Khesar Gyalpo University of Medical Sciences of Bhutan (KGUMSB).

The team met with the health minister to discuss the possibilities of an MoU between the universities. Suttipong Wacharasindhu said that the MoU could facilitate collaboration, exchange programmes and sharing of knowledge and experience between the two hospitals.

“Medical students, lecturers and junior doctors will benefit once the MoU is in place. They can experience the different working and learning environments in the two countries.”

The ministry will conduct feasibility studies on the MoU and also explore areas wherever foreign specialists will be required.

KGUMSB’s president, Dr Kinzang P Tshering said that since the university is in its initial stages, assistance from CU will support in the development of Bhutanese medical practitioners.

KGUMSB was formally established last year, however, the activities for setting up the university started as early as 2013. Currently there are three faculties under the university – Faculty of Traditional Medicine (formerly NITM), Faculty of Nursing and Public Health (formerly RIHS) and the Post Graduate Medical Education Centre (PGMEC).

Younten Tshedup