Setting Health Research Priorities in Bhutan

The Khesar Gyalpo University of Medical Sciences of Bhutan (KGUMSB) organized a three-day workshop to develop the national health research priority list in collaboration with the Ministry of Health (MoH) and the Bhutan Foundation. Sixteen participants from different health sectors worked together to create the list, which will be instrumental in guiding the government and other stakeholders in effectively allocating resources for the health research sector.

The objective of the Bhutan National Research Priority Setting Workshop was to formulate the health research priority list and to identify priority areas for capacity building. Facilitators from the Yale School of Public Health and KGUMSB shared the methodology to be used for priority setting and assessment. Participants deliberated on three domains of health research: health system governance, public health protection, and health-care delivery.

At the end of the workshop, 25 priority topics were proposed, out of which the top three areas were the following:

  • Patient safety and quality care
  • Substance use: Effective interventions for alcohol addictions
  • Effectiveness of referral systems, both internal and external

Other priority topics included climate and environmental factors associated with diarrheal diseases; landscape study on domestic production of medicines and medical supplies as well as sustainability of medicinal plants; and availability, reliability, and utilization of health information.

The health research priority list will be shared with relevant ministries, development partners, and civil society organizations for two more rounds of scoring and will be consolidated by the Ministry of Health. Local and international experts from KGUMSB, the Ministry of Health, and Yale School of Public Health, and the Bhutan Foundation facilitated the workshop.