Introduction


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.

Building Local In-Country Training Capacity

When the Bhutan Foundation first started our Emergency Medicine program in 2009, there were no emergency physicians in Bhutan. The program started by providing in-country training and mentorship to young medical doctors working in emergency rooms. Meanwhile, we supported two physicians to become Bhutan’s first emergency medicine physicians, thereby recognizing emergency medicine as a specialty for the country.

The Foundation conducted local trainings of health teams by bringing international and Bhutanese medical experts together. Throughout the process, we were dedicated to creating Bhutanese experts and trainers. Then, in 2013, the Foundation helped establish the National Emergency Education Center in Thimphu, Bhutan, with a fully staffed Bhutanese team. The Center continues to serve as a training ground for all healthcare workers.

Strengthening Pre-Hospital Care Services

In emergencies, the first point of care and safe transport to health facilities can be critical to saving a life. Therefore, pre-hospital care is an important part of emergency medical services. As part of our pre-hospital program, we provided first-aid and first-responder trainings to those who are often the first point of care. These include ambulance drivers, police, firefighters, and taxi drivers.

In 2018, with the introduction of helicopter services in Bhutan, the Foundation helped train and equip the Bhutan Emergency Aeromedical Retrieval (BEAR) Team. The BEAR Team responds to emergency calls throughout the country, which are most often from the far-flung and hard-to-reach communities. The team consists of trained doctors and nurses who can provide field medical services and help safely transport patients to a healthcare facility for further treatment.

Providing Essential Medical Equipment and Supplies

Along with trainings, we provide donations of essential medical equipment and supplies, so that trained healthcare workers can carry out their essential services. We have donated equipment such as ultrasound machines, cardiac monitors, and photometers. We even donated Bhutan’s first fully equipped EMS ambulance. The donated equipment is being used in ambulances, helicopters, basic health units, and hospitals across Bhutan. We have also equipped the National Emergency Training Center with simulation mannikins, CPR mannikins, and other training resources so that practicing nurses and doctors can get hands-on experience.

TRAUMA ACCOUNTS FOR 11% OF THE GLOBAL BURDEN OF DISEASE IN LOW-AND MIDDLE-INCOME COUNTRIES

17,218
Flight hours conducted by the BEAR team in 3 years
117
Patients treated in the first year of BEAR operations
$500K
Worth of medical equipment supported since the inception of the emergency program
305+
Health workers trained in emergency care

Did You Know?


Our Partners


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.

BHUTAN PROVIDES FREE HEALTH CARE FOR ALL ITS CITIZENS

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.

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