Kyoto University Hospital's Bhutan Project

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Kyoto University and the Kingdom of Bhutan share more than 70 years of history in academic cooperation. Year 2010 marked a key point in the relationship, following the meeting of professors from the University with His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the 4th King of Bhutan and the first advocate of the concept of Gross National Happiness. As a result, a partnership for mutual benefit called Kyoto University Bhutan Friendship Program was launched to encourage social contributions in fields such as healthcare, environment, ecology, and disaster prevention.

Within this framework, in 2013 Kyoto University Hospital signed an MoU with Khesar Gyalpo University of Medical Sciences of Bhutan, and the Ministry of Health of Bhutan; which later was expanded in 2016 to include the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck (JDW) National Referral Hospital. The agreement aims to promote academic exchange and collaboration in the field of health, focusing on nurturing young medical doctors in Bhutan.

Since then, Kyoto University Hospital has sent over 70 staff members to the JDW National Referral Hospital, including doctors, nurses, technicians, and nutritionists, who support the development of medical specialist training programs through clinical activities, and provide public health education and guidance on the use of medical equipment, in order to improve the local medical care environment.

For Kyoto University Hospital, the program represents a precious opportunity not only to contribute to the improvement of the medical environment in Bhutan, but also to reflect on medical practices in Japan. For instance, as participants learn to conduct healthcare with limited medical equipment and resources while gaining a deeper understanding of "what happiness is", due to the exposure gained while serving in the country that embraces the concept of Gross National Happiness.

Read more about the activities of Kyoto University Hospital in Bhutan (in Japanese).