The arrival of four specialists in Trashigang hospital has come as a huge relief for the people of the six eastern dzongkhags, who otherwise had to travel all the way to the capital city for advanced medical treatments.
One gynecologist, pediatrician, surgeon and a medical specialist have joined the district hospital to fulfill the increasing medical needs of the people in the eastern region, and to further ease the pressure on the already overburdened Mongar Regional Hospital.
The head of Trashigang Hospital, Gang Dorji, recounted how earlier they had to refer patients to Medical Specialist (MS) and General Surgeon (GS) in Mongar for surgery and treatment.
“But now we are able to treat them here, thereby sharing the workload of the Mongar Regional Hospital,” he said, adding that it will save the government and the patients a lot of valuable time and money.
However, the hospital is in dire need of additional infrastructures for the specialists and their new units, not to mention the lack of manpower required to assist them individually.
Gang Dorji explained that being a district level hospital, it was not designed for expansion i.e. to accommodate these additional features.
“That is why the GS and the MS have to share the same chamber, which is very inconvenient. While additional services arrive, we lack equipment and infrastructures,” he said, adding that the new units were not in the plan before.
With the arrival of the General Surgeon, the hospital also received an endoscopy machine, which was also not in the plan.
“But we have no space to set up the machine,” he said, “Further the presence of a GS would also necessitate an additional operation theater, in case of emergencies.”
To cope with the space crisis, the management is planning to shift the traditional medicine unit out of the hospital to an old unit, which would accommodate the medical specialists and the endoscopy unit.
Meanwhile, the hospital continues to suffer from staff shortage and it has become even more urgent after the arrival of the four specialists, who would require additional staff for assistance.
“We have already put up a requisition to the ministry for additional nurses,” Gang Dorji added.
A resident of Trashigang town, Chador Wangmo, 58, has special medical needs and has to travel to Thimphu every two months to consult with the MS. Later, she was asked to continue her treatment in Mongar Regional Hospital.
Today she feels totally relieved, especially from making those arduous trips to Thimphu and Mongar, enabling her to seek treatment at a walking distance.
“I am extremely grateful to the government for bringing these specialists to my hometown,” she said, “I am able to use the travel money for other useful purposes. The long journeys are especially painful when you are sick.”
However, she added that the patients have to queue for a long time as the two specialists take turns to meet with the patient.
Dhendup, 38, from Shongphu Gewog, praised the government’s initiative, calling it timely.
“Trashigang alone has 15 gewogs and over 8,000 households and accordingly our medical needs are also increasing,” he said, adding that the hospital expansion would greatly benefit the rural people who have limited means to travel to Mongar or Thimphu.
Meanwhile, the hospital is also in need of an Orthopedic and an Eye Specialist as related cases are directly referred to Mongar.
Tenzin Lhamo from Trashigang