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Evelyn Wong: Incredible experience in Bhutan
May 18, 2024, 11:50

Evelyn Wong: Incredible experience in Bhutan

Evelyn Wong, Associate Consultant, Division of Medical Oncology at the National Cancer Centre Singapore, made the following post on LinkedIn:

“Had an incredible experience in Bhutan the last week! Would like to thank SingHealth Surgery ACP SingHealth Academic Medicine and SingHealth Duke-NUS Global Health Institute for the opportunity.

Would also like to thank National Cancer Centre Singapore for their continued support as well. Heres trying to put cancer care on the global health agenda.

Bhutan is a small lower-middle income country in the eastern Himalayas with a population of about 0.7 million, which is currently being served by one national hospital. Cancer mortality and morbidity is growing quickly in Low and Middle Income Countries (LMIC).

All levels of healthcare services in Bhutan are provided free of cost. Bhutan has a three-tiered healthcare system with the primary healthcare centres at the grassroots level, district and general hospitals at the secondary level and the referral hospitals at the tertiary level, all administered by the National Medical Services since 2023.

This trip was a learning experience for me as well – as the main academic aim was to perform a needs assessment of the cancer care in Bhutan and to assess interventions for capacity building in an LMIC.

This experience taught me a few things:

  • ⁠G to G collaboration is important especially for a country like Bhutan who has just starting her development in cancer care. Existing models of collaborative partnerships between a combination of low-, middle- and upper-income country cancer centers could provide useful pointers for improving cancer prevention and control capacity in low-resource settings.
  • ⁠Data is King! To ensure the highest likelihood of success for new and continued cancer center success in LMICs, a detailed understanding is essential. Data on resources, capacities, priorities, barriers, and the unique circumstances of local institutes in LMICs that prevent, diagnose, treat, manage, and research cancers is needed for those seeking to adapt successful models.
  • ⁠ ⁠Implementation science is important in advancing global oncology. Oncology as a global health agenda is a new field and there seems to be a growing demand for hands-on, in- country global health experience. I would like to learn how to harness the power of the emerging field of implementation science to design the most effective public health strategies to reach, treat, and cure cancer patients in low-resource settings in Asia.

Sometimes global health is a very lonely journey. However through this trip, Ive been blessed to work alongside fellow like-minded individuals especially the surgeons who share the same crazy ideas as me.

I would like to thank the Ministry of Health, Royal Government of Bhutan for the invitation, as well as the National Medical Services, Bhutan and JDWRNH doctors for their incredible hospitality.”

Evelyn Wong

Source: Evelyn Wong/LinkedIn