Referrals pending due to India lockdown

Government working on establishment of burn and plastic surgery unit at JDWNRH

The surgery unit is expected to help in treating burn victims and patients with facial deformities.

The government is making strides towards enhancing healthcare services in the country with the establishment of a burn and plastic surgery unit at the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH).

During the second meet the press held on March 29, the Health Minister, Tandin Wangchuk said, โ€œThe Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed with Bangladesh to set up a unit during His Majesty The Kingโ€™s visit, and we are deliberating on the way forward and will hopefully come to a consensus in a few monthsโ€™ time.โ€

The minister shared that the government is discussing the details of the development of the units in JDWNRH.

The MoU was signed between Bangladesh Health Minister Dr Samanta Lal Sen and Bhutanese Health Minister Tandin Wangchuk for establishing the Plastic Surgery Unit on March 25, 2024.

Bangladesh Health Minister Dr Samanta Lal Sen, during the MoU signing time, reiterated their commitment to supporting Bhutan in this endeavor. He also mentioned that the collaboration would also include a training program for doctors to enhance their skills in burn and plastic surgery.

To prepare for the establishment of the new plastic surgery and reconstructive unit, six trainees from JDWNRH and Central Regional Referral Hospital (CRRH) Gelephu Hospital underwent a month-long residential course in Nepal in January 2024. The training was focused on various aspects of burn care, general plastics, and reconstructive cases.

The team will support the establishment of the new plastic surgery and reconstructive unit in JDWNRH, alongside Dr Sonam Jamstho, who will finish his training in March of this year.

The teams also have the opportunity to perform a hands-on experiment on the patient.

The need for a specialized burn and plastic surgery unit within the country is evident, as many patients currently have to seek treatment overseas. A recent case involving a 23-year-old woman, Karma Dema, highlights the challenges faced by patients seeking specialized care. After undergoing multiple surgeries in India for nasal cavity cancer, Karma experienced complications that altered the shape of her nose. Subsequent corrective surgeries in Bangladesh finally addressed the damage, underscoring the importance of having local facilities for such patients within the country.

Meanwhile, the last plastic surgery camp in Bhutan was organized during the birth centenary celebration of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 2023. Led by a team of Bangladeshi doctors, the camp provided essential medical assistance to patients requiring plastic surgery and burn care. Dr Samanta Lal Sen, who led the medical team, emphasized the significance of such initiatives in fostering collaboration between countries and improving healthcare outcomes.

During this three-day camp, the medical team has collaborated with Bhutanese surgeons and medical personnel to provide treatment to burn victims and patients with facial deformities. The team has successfully performed surgeries on approximately 15 patients suffering from burn injuries and physical deformities during the entire camp.

By Nidup Lhamo, Thimphu