First FDI in health sector inaugurated

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The first Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)in health sector, Apollo Bhutan Institute of Nursing (ABIN) in Kabesa, Thimphu was inaugurated on July 18.

The institute will provide diploma in general nursing and midwifery for three years and will start operations from August this year.

“The institute will provide 100% employment in Apollo hospitals in India and worldwide,” said Chief Executive Officer, Apollo Bhutan Institute of Nursing, Khendum Dorji.

Gracing the event, Health Minister, Dechen Wangmo said ABIN aims to develop excellent workforce and be a center of excellence for human development not just in Bhutan but in the region as well.

In addition, she said, Bhutan has done fairly well in universal health coverage with about 90% of population having access to health services.

Lyonpo also shared that the health sector in the country is challenged in terms of providing tertiary health care services and in managing of chronic diseases and lack of human resources.

However, Lyonpo Dechen Wangmo assured that the health ministry is subsequently planning to upgrade facilities as the country graduates from low income to middle income country.

She also said that the Digital Drukyul flagship program in the 12th Five Year Plan would address maintenance of health and patient information.

“There is a huge shortage of well trained workforce globally especially trained clinicians, nurses, assistants, and technicians,”said Vice-Chairperson, Apollo Group of Hospitals, Preetha Reddy.

Additionally, she said Bhutan has an added advantage because of its well-spoken English and caring and empathic culture.

“Trained and skilled workforce will not only make a mark in this part of the world but also the rest of the world,” said Preetha Reedy.

Dean of ABIN, Pema Dolma said the institute’s vision is to establish a center of excellence for nursing through quality approaches, professional development,and research and provide the best nursing education.

The institute has three permanent teaching faculty and two visiting guest lecturers from Khesar Gyalpo University of Medical Sciences (KGUMS)and Faculty of Nursing and Public Health.

Admissions are open now and students of class XII science with 40% aggregate in all science subjects including Dzongkha and English are eligible to apply.

There will be self-catering facilities provided with accommodation where students have to pay a fee of Nu 85,000 per semester and Nu 75,000 for day scholar.

Wangduephodrang and Paro hospitals have been identified for the teaching practices of the nursing students.The institute also plans to have crash course programs for nurses.

Apollo hospitals in India and Chhundu Travels, both has share holdings in the institutes.

The institute is affiliated to the KGUMS and is regulated by Bhutan Medical and Health Council.Health Minister, Foreign Minister, Chief Justice,and other officials attended the event.

Thukten Zangpo from Thimphu

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