Healthcare :: Bhutan discouraging doctors from seeking political careers

Faced with an acute shortage of doctors, the tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan is now discouraging medicos from seeking political careers.

With a doctor-patient ratio of 1:10,000, Bhutan can boast of only 163 doctors of which 61 are specialists, 29 are undergoing trainings at various levels and 32 are hired from Myanmar, according to health ministry officials.

Recently five specialist doctors decided to join politics after quitting services and officials are trying their best to dissuade them from their decisions.

“We don’t want them to resign because the country currently faces an acute shortage of doctors in general and specialists in particular,” a ministry official said.

“The government indicated that doctors can best serve the country by remaining in their present profession,” he said, adding three have agreed to stay until the crisis is over.

Sources in the ministry said the shortage is likely to continue for another five years but one of the resigning doctors felt the crisis will remain even after 10 years.

“Having been in the profession for some time I know what the problems are in the health sector and I am thinking that I might be able to address them by joining politics,” he said.

Another doctor said he wanted to join politics out of genuine interest. He said there weren’t any candidates to contest for a post in the national council from his constituency.

“I was encouraged by my friends, relatives and well wishers to represent my constituency,” he said.

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