In happy Bhutan, the prime minister is a doctor on Saturdays.
THIMPU: It's Saturday In Bhutan And Just Completed Urinary Bladder Repair Surgery In A Patient At The National Reference Hospital Jigme Dorji Wangchuck.
But Tshering Is Not An Ordinary Physician. During The Week, He Is Also The Prime Minister In The Himalayan Kingdom, Famous For Measuring Citizens ' Gross National Happiness
For Me It Is ' S Stress Eliminator, Said Tshering, Who Was Elected Prime Minister Of The Nation Of 750,000 People Last Year In Only His Third Democratic Election Since The End Of The Absolute Monarchy In 2008.
Some People Play Golf, Others Do Archery, And I Like To Operate. I'm Spending My Weekends Here, The 50-year-old Told AFP.
Nobody In The Hospital Beat One Eyelid While Tshering, With A Lab Coat And Faded Crocodiles, Walks Through The Corridors. Nurses And Hospital Assistants Continue Their Work Normally.
The Buddhist Kingdom Is, In Many Aspects, A Separate Case, Comparing Itself With Happiness Instead Of Economic Growth.
One of the pillars of Gross National Happiness is conservation of the environment. Bhutan is carbon negative and its constitution mandates that 60 percent of the country remains forested. It is also big on ecotourism and charges a daily fee of $250 per visitor in high season.
The Capital Has No Traffic Lights, Tobacco Sale Is Prohibited And Television Only Allowed In 1999.
Archery Competitions, With Liberal Amounts Of Local Fire Water, Are A National Fashion. Falos Painted In Houses To Avert Evil Are Also A Common View.
But Thunder Dragon Land Also Has Its Problems, Including Corruption, Rural Poverty, Juvenile Unemployment And Criminal Bands.
Tshering, Who Trained In Bangladesh, Japan, Australia And The United States, Began His Political Career In 2013, But His Party Failed To Make Progress In That Year's Elections.
After Losing, King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck Ordered To Direct A Team Of Doctors And Travel With Monarch Entourage To The Remote Villages To Provide Free Medical Treatment.
Now, As Prime Minister, He Spends Saturdays Treating Patients Who Are Sent To Him And On Thursday In The Morning Offering Medical Advice To Students And Doctors. Sunday Is Family Time.
Back In The Office Of The Prime Minister, A Lab Coat Hangs On The Back Of His Chair.
This, He Said, Serves As A Reminder Of His Electoral Commitment To Focus On Medical Care.
Patients don't have to pay directly for healthcare in Bhutan , but Tshering says that much more remains to be done despite important strides in medical treatment.
If Well The Country Has Experienced Important Improvements In Life Expectancy, A Reduction In Infant Mortality And The Elimination Of Many Infectious Diseases, The Number Of Lifestyle-Related Illnesses, Including Alcoholism And Diabetes, Is On The Rise.
Now We Must Concentrate More On Secondary And Tertiary Care, Tshering Said.
At The Hospital, Tshering's Patient, A 40-year-old Man Named Bumthap Who Underwent A Bladder Repair Surgery For Five Hours, Told The AFP That He Was Satisfied With The Results.
" Now That I Have Been Operated By The Prime Minister, Who Is Considered One Of The Best Doctors In The Country, I Feel More Relieved," He Said.
The Policy, The Prime Minister Said, Looks Much Like A Doctor.
At The Hospital I Scan And Treat The Patients. In The Government, I Analyze The Health Of The Policies And I Try To Improve Them, He Said.
" I Will Continue Doing This Until I Die And I Miss Not Being Able To Be Here Every Day," He Added.
And In The Days When He Drives His Car Around The Capital, Thimphu, Instead Of Using His Official Chauffeur, A Too Familiar Impulse Dominates Him.
" Every Time I Drive To Work Days, I Would Like To Be Able To Turn Left To The Hospital.