About The Project
Bhutan is seeing a significant rise in the number of vehicle-related and unintentional injuries, as well as increasing threats of natural disasters. But in a country with rugged and mountainous terrain, transport to the nearest health-care facility can take hours, which is critical to patient care. The Bhutan Foundation is working to address these issues by building Bhutan’s capacity in emergency medical services.
Training Doctors and Nurses
The Bhutan Foundation and the Ministry of Health sponsored two Bhutanese physicians to be trained as Bhutan’s first emergency department physicians, thereby recognizing emergency medicine as a specialty for the country. The main goal of the program is to train all doctors and nurses working in emergency medicine and trauma care in Bhutan. This is done using a train-the-trainers model so that in-country training capacity is built for a long-term, sustainable program.
Improving Pre-hospital Care
Where no pre-hospital trauma care system exists, the most basic tier of a system can be established by teaching interested community members basic first aid techniques. For five years, the Bhutan Foundation and Ministry of Health have provided trainings to potential first responders, such as ambulance drivers, police, firemen, taxi drivers, and nuns, in using basic first aid, providing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), controlling bleeding, applying splints, and using safe and proper transport procedures. Empowering community members with basic life-saving skills can significantly reduce the number of preventable deaths.
May 6, 2020
The Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH), located in the capital city of Thimphu, is Bhutan's only tertiary level hospital and key to managing COVID-19 cases in Bhutan. Planned EMS training programs are on hold while health-care personnel attend to the current situation. Instead, the Bhutan Foundation has worked with the Ministry of Health to provide critical PPE needed during this time, such as N95 masks, hand sanitizers, face shields, and disposable gowns, to the three major hospitals located in central, eastern, and southern Bhutan (Thimphu, Mongar, and Gelephu).
March 15, 2018
Bhutan’s first Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) training took place in Thimphu for 35 medical doctors, lecturers, and nurses from the Khesar Gyalpo University of Medical Sciences, regional hospitals, and basic health units from western and central parts of Bhutan. The three-day workshop taught our local doctors and health workers how to assess a patient’s condition, resuscitate and stabilize, and determine if the patient needs further intensive care. The course delivered a safe and reliable method for immediate management of injured patients and addressed how to arrange a patient’s inter-hospital transfer and assure that optimum care is provided throughout the process.
According to Mr. Ugyen Tshering, program officer of the Emergency Medical Services Division of the Ministry of Health, “this course will further help to provide adequate, timely, and effective trauma care that is life or limb saving for injured patients in the country.”
Originally designed for emergency situations in which only one doctor and one nurse are present, ATLS is now widely accepted as the standard of care for initial assessment and treatment in trauma centers. The premise of the ATLS program is to treat the greatest threat to life first. The second batch of training will be conducted in Gelephu in Southern Bhutan from March 27th to 29th for medical doctors of eastern and central parts of the country.
The Bhutan Foundation is excited to support this training under our Emergency Medical Services Program in collaboration with the Emergency Medical Services Division of the Ministry of Health and the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital.
November 17, 2017
Following an online campaign in July to raise funds for the Bhutan Emergency Aeromedical Retrieval (BEAR) Team, in partnership with the Health Ministry and the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH), the Bhutan Foundation handed over crucial medical equipment for the BEAR Team. The equipment consists of handheld, portable devices that enable early intervention and care for patients during helicopter transport.
November 11, 2017
The Bhutan Foundation supported an emergency chief nurse from Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital, and a program officer from the Emergency Medical Services Division, Ministry of Health, to attend the Leadership Essential Course and Certified Emergency Department Executive Course in London.
The Certified Emergency Department Executive (CEDE) examination is unique to emergency department leaders and is offered through the International Emergency Department Leadership Institute (IEDLI). With a certification in CEDE, participants will be able to join an elite group of international leaders who are working toward emergency department excellence and will increase their credibility as an emergency department leader.
August 3, 2017
As a part of Bhutan Foundation’s on-going program to improve emergency medical services in Bhutan, medical equipment and resources worth Nu. 1.8 Million was handed over to the Emergency Medical Services Department under the Health Ministry. The resources include manuals, and training equipments such as adult, child, and neonatal manikins that can be used for training in resuscitation, intubation, and birth simulations. These training equipments will be distributed to JDWNRH, Mongar Regional Hospital, and Gelephug Regional Hospital.
November 14, 2016
This month, 141 doctors, nurses, and program officers from around Bhutan successfully completed emergency medical trainings in Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), Pediatric Life Support (PALS), and Basic Life Support (BLS) at the National Emergency Education Center under the auspices of the Khesar Gyalpo University of Medical Sciences of Bhutan, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital, and the Ministry of Health. This is part of the Bhutan Foundation’s ongoing Emergency Medical Services (EMS) program, which provides in-country EMS trainings. Bhutanese facilitators who were previously trained as instructors led the training sessions. Additional doctors and nurses were further trained to be local instructors, to help build a large pool of resources in country.
The training this year also included the updated five-year CPR guidelines and protocols from the American Heart Association, which were taught by facilitators Anne Castioni and Emily Kaplan. This is the third training in Bhutan led by facilitators from Phelps Memorial Hospital Center, New York, over a six-year period. The training was made possible with support from the Hoch Center for Emergency Education at Phelps Memorial Hospital Center in collaboration with the Emergency Medical Services Division, Ministry of Health, and the Bhutan Foundation.
November 11, 2016
Dr. Ugyen Tshering, emergency physician from Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital, and Mr. Jamtsho, senior program officer from the Emergency Medical Services Division, Ministry of Health, attended the Leadership Essential Course and Certified Emergency Department Executive Course from November 7–11, 2016, in Amsterdam. Dr. Ugyen thought it was a remarkable course that afforded them an opportunity for tremendous personal and professional growth.
The two Bhutanese medical professionals not only learned how different emergency departments around the world meet similar challenges in different ways, but had the chance to work and collaborate directly with an international group of emergency medical doctors. Each day of the conference brought new ideas and opportunities for growth. They were able to network with a cadre of EMS physicians who were eager to collaborate on tough medical cases and organizational difficulties that challenge all of them.
Dr. Ugyen, in particular, returned from the conference excited, with several concrete plans for how they will improve the organization and efficiency of the emergency department at Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital in Thimphu, Bhutan. With their support, the hospital will continue to develop a powerhouse for emergency medicine education, training, and resuscitation. Dr. Ugyen reflected that “It was a great opportunity for me—one that I am determined to transform into real, sustained improvement in our emergency department.”
The Bhutan Foundation supported these short-term emergency leadership trainings at the International Emergency Department Leadership Institute (IEDLI). IEDLI provides leadership education for health-care leaders in emergency departments worldwide to promote high-quality and efficient emergency care and to advance the field of emergency medical leadership internationally.
June 6, 2016
The Bhutan Foundation officially signed a project agreement with the Gross National Happiness Commission (GNHC) and the Ministry of Health for improving emergency medical services in Bhutan. The Emergency Medical Services program is a joint and continuous effort of the Bhutan Foundation and the Ministry of Health to strengthen the capacity of health workers to provide emergency medical services, build local training capacity for emergency care, and develop trauma management systems.
The project agreement falls under the umbrella of the Memorandum of Understanding that the Bhutan Foundation signed with the GNHC in 2015. The Bhutan Foundation has committed to support this EMS program over a three-year period to foster activities such as building capacity of the doctors and nurses in emergency services, training and certifying Bhutanese doctors to be instructors, providing necessary medical equipment, establishing a trauma registry, and more.
November 8, 2015
Two doctors from the Emergency Department at Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH), Dr. Sona Pradhan and Dr. Ugyen Tshering, attended a week-long Certified Emergency Department Executive (CEDE) Certification course at the International Emergency Department Leadership Institute (IEDLI) in Barcelona, Spain. The IEDLI was created by Harvard Medical School faculty and other international experts in order to provide emergency department leaders all over the world with the skills and knowledge they need to operate successful emergency departments.
This training is designed for upper management professionals who have organizational responsibility for Emergency Medical Services operations in their agency or jurisdiction.
September 14, 2015
Sister Kencho and Sister Sonam Kiba, two nurses from Bhutan’s National Referral Hospital, were recently trained in managing emergency medical education courses. The two-week training at Phelps Memorial Hospital Emergency Education Center provided the nurses with the opportunity to manage and conduct medical simulation classes for health-care professionals.
Emergency Education Center provided the nurses with the opportunity to manage and conduct medical simulation classes for health-care professionals. While in New York, the nurses staffed booths at a triathlon event, became certified in Advanced Trauma Life Support, attended manikin simulation demonstrations, and visited major trauma centers. The Bhutan Foundation also provided an equipment donation of the advanced Trauma Man manikin for Bhutan’s Emergency Education Center, which the nurses brought back with them to Bhutan.
November 7, 2014
Over the course of two weeks, 108 doctors and nurses from all of Bhutan’s 20 districts were trained in life-saving measures. Instructors from Bhutan’s National Emergency Education Center and Phelps Memorial Hospital Center, New York, led courses in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and emergency cardiovascular care (ECC). Courses included Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS), and Basic Life Support (BLS). The trainings included a series of simulated emergencies to reinforce the important concepts of assessment, treatment algorithms, effective resuscitation, and team dynamics.
CPR and ECC training programs are proven to increase survival rates and quality of life. In the United States, all doctors and health-care workers operating in acute-care settings are required to be certified in CPR and ECC every two years. The Bhutan Foundation in partnership with Phelps Memorial Hospital Center, New York, introduced CPR and ECC training programs to Bhutan in 2012. More importantly, we have been working with Bhutan’s Ministry of Health to build a base of Bhutanese instructors, so that they can continue trainings in Bhutan.
Out of the 51 trainees in Basic Life Support, 18 were trained and then certified by the American Heart Association as BLS instructors. They can now start conducting BLS trainings within Bhutan. Dr. Tashi Tenzin, the Head of the Emergency Department at Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital in Thimphu, emphasized to the instructors that they should take the initiative to train their health staff and to train other health facilities within their reach. The vision of Bhutan’s National Emergency Education Center is to train all health-care workers in Bhutan in emergency medicine, resulting in improved quality of care for all Bhutanese citizens.
November 25, 2013
Doctors, nurses, and the general public in Bhutan now have a place where they can receive training in emergency medicine. On November 20, 2013, Dasho Nima Wangdi, Secretary of Health, and Mrs. Lisina Hoch, Vice President of the Bhutan Foundation, formally inaugurated the National Emergency Education Center in Thimphu, Bhutan. Its mission is to improve emergency medical services through trainings in emergency medicine and trauma care. The new center is affiliated with the Hoch Center for Emergency Education, Phelps Memorial Hospital Center, in the United States.
Through the center, all doctors and nurses in Bhutan will be trained to provide standard emergency medical services. The first training course will start this December for 20 recently graduated Bhutanese doctors. Soon, the general public will also be able to take basic first-aid and first-responder courses.
The center was established jointly by the Ministry of Health, the National Referral Hospital, and the University of Medical Sciences of Bhutan with support from the Bhutan Foundation.
The Bhutan Foundation is partnering with Bhutan’s Ministry of Health to improve emergency medical services in Bhutan. Trainings are conducted through the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital’s Emergency Education Center. Curriculum and training programs are developed in collaboration with Phelps Memorial Hospital Center in New York, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, and Health Volunteers Overseas.
How You Can Help
The Bhutan Foundation needs donations in order to provide medical equipment and support for training Bhutan’s doctors and nurses. Your support will improve the lives of all Bhutanese through providing better emergency care, step by step: