Neten Dorji

Lhuentse – People of Tshankhar Gewog and residents of Austsho town in Lhuentse are delighted as Autsho Primary Health Centre (PHC)  has been upgraded to a 10-bed hospital.

The new hospital is constructed at the cost of Nu 40 million. The hospital has facilities such as ultrasound machines, X-rays, laboratories, and others.

However, the hospital is yet to be fully operational as the hospital doesn’t have a doctor and technicians.

People say they have been waiting for the new hospital to operate fully so that they can avail themselves of health facilities from the new hospital.

“In the 10-bedded hospital, there will be a doctor, and facilities like ultrasound, endoscopy. We are yet to benefit from all facilities,” said a resident, Lhamo. “It will not only benefit the people of Tshankhar gewog but also nearby gewogs of Mongar.”

Another resident, Kencho Wangmo, said travelling in a vehicle and walking long distances for health services is a problem for them.

“In the past, we had to travel either to Mongar or Lhuentse to avail health services. Now we can avail facilities like ultrasound and x-rays from here itself,” she said.

Autsho resident, Sonam, said they would no longer have to go all the way to Mongar regional hospital for services like X-ray and Ultrasound machines are installed.

“We had to pay Nu 200 to Nu 250 for a taxi to get to Mongar hospital. Now it saves our expenses and time,” said Sonam.

She said the hospital benefits residents of Tsakaling Gewog and Tsamang Gewogs in Mongar dzongkhag.

Chimi said that it is risky to travel during monsoon.

“We have to travel about 37 km from Autsho to Mongar. Only serious patients are ferried by ambulance. It is difficult for those who don’t own a vehicle,” she said.

People are forced to travel either to Lhuentse or Monger to get the X-ray done.

“It is an extra burden for the people who are economically disadvantaged,” said the mother. “Some cannot afford to go to Lhuentse or Monger to get these services.”

Locals said the hospital has eased out for elderly people and those who cannot travel by vehicles.

“People don’t drive private cars, so we have to rely on taxis, which are also not available on the go. If we miss the time, we have to return the next day,” said a resident.

She said everybody is happy that a new hospital is being constructed within the periphery of their village.

Health officials said that the hospital has become like a referral hospital for two neighboring gewogs of Mongar. Patients from parts of Lhuentse dzongkhag are also referred to the hospital for further treatment.

“The hospital will be fully operational by next year since we are waiting for a doctor and technicians,” said a health official. “Except for the fooding facility, we started giving other facilities like ultrasound and x-rays.”

Autsho hospital is located about 37 kilometres towards Lhuentse from Mongar and about 40 kilometres from Lhuentse Dzong.