Each district hospital to have a permanent flu clinic

The MoH has set up 54 walk-in flu clinics beginning March last year

The Ministry of Health (MoH) is constructing a permanent flu clinic at the Royal Bhutan Police (RBP) ground in Thimphu by using prefabricated materials.

The construction of the flu clinic has already started after it was approved by the NC19TF.

The total budget estimated for the construction of the flu clinic is around Nu 4.54mn. The construction is initiated with funding support from the World Bank.

The ministry will also construct flu clinics in all the district hospitals with 40 bedded capacity.

MoH’s officials said the current World Bank support will cover 11 prioritized hospitals.

The Communicable Disease Division under the Department of Public Health will also explore budget from other sources like the global funds to support the flu clinic constructions where dzongkhag managements are not able to allocate budget due to budget ceiling.

Officials said that an adequate number of rooms for PCR test will be included within the flu clinic in Thimphu, Central Regional Referral Hospital, Mongar Regional Referral Hospital, Samdrup Jongkhar and Phuentsholing.

Health Infrastructure and Development Division will consult with the Royal Centre for Diseases Control for requirements of the room size and structures for PCR testing laboratory.

Similarly, a permanent flu clinic will be also constructed at Samdrup Jongkhar and the PCR testing facility will be shifted from Deothang to Samdrup Jongkhar.

Health officials said that services provided from the flu clinics will be screening and testing of presumptive Tuberculosis and sample collection, HIV and Hepatitis, COVID-19 related diseases and flu like system.

Each flu clinic will have a doctor, lab technician, lab technician for TB sputum collection, pharmacy technician and a receptionist.

However, since the present RBP ground is to be used as a helipad, the JDWNRH has been instructed to identify a suitable area at the same ground to ensure that the flu clinic doesn’t affect the landing of the choppers. 

Currently, most of the flu clinics are hosted within tents and temporary sheds in the hospital premises. With this temporary infrastructure, hospital staffs​​ are facing difficulty in providing the required services to the public, particularly during the peak monsoon and winter seasons.

Considering the importance of sustaining the flu clinics as one of the critical prevention measures to reduce or avoid the risk of transmission of the COVID-19, TB and other respiratory diseases in the hospital OPDs, the MoH has decided to improve the existing flu clinic infrastructures either by constructing a new clinic or refurbishing the available structures within the hospitals. 

 In the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, the MoH has set up 54 walk-in flu clinics beginning March 2020.

Dechen Dolkar from Thimphu