Less than a year after its inauguration, noticeable damage to the physical structures has emerged at the central regional referral hospital in Gelephu.
Following the discovery of multiple cracks on the walls of the 150-bed hospital earlier this year, the ceiling in various parts of the hospital has started to fall off. Currently, more than 40 locations have been identified that have suffered the damage.
Officials with the maintenance division of the hospital said that water from excessive sweating and leakages from the air conditioning (AC) machines have damaged the ceiling made from mineral fibers and gypsum boards.
A few days ago, the dialysis unit on the first floor was one of the most affected areas in the hospital. A considerable amount of water dripped from the ceiling. Buckets were placed near the patients to collect the overflow.
“The condition was really bad. Without the AC, we couldn’t work and the patients had a difficult time remaining inside the room. And while the AC was on, we could not stop the leakage,” said one staff.
Maintenance officials said that the AC’s drainage alignment in the dialysis unit had some problems and the line was blocked, which resulted in the overflow and seepage through the ceiling. The alignment was later fixed.
On June 28, the hospital administration wrote to the contractor regarding several repair works the hospital required immediately. It was learnt that there were about 16 different repair works, mostly with the physical structures that are required at the hospital.
It was also learnt that excessive leakage from the terrace due to poor waterproofing had damaged the ceiling near the main entrance of the hospital and lobby area. Exterior walls in some places were also damaged due to water coming out of displaced gutter pipes.
Kuensel learnt that the fire alarm panel at the hospital is non-functional and additional new cracks had also developed on the walls in various locations. Loose tiles in different places also needed to be fixed.
Gelephu residents alleged that cracks and falling ceiling were a result of poorly built structure and rushed inauguration. “They should have given enough time to properly build the hospital,” said one of the residents. “The building is not even one year old and already we have all these problems. Quality has been compromised.”
Defunct CT Scan
The CT scan machine at the hospital has been non-functional since last month. According to the hospital staff, certain parts of the central processing unit (CPU) of the machine have suffered some damage.
Although the main cause of the damage is unknown, officials said that rodent infestation could be a possible reason. “The wire vents into the CPU are large enough to provide access to rats, which we assume could have done the damage,” said a staff.
However, there is no physical damage to the wires inside the CPU. It was also learnt that the main machine is operational.
Officials said that Gelephu regional hospital does not have a full-time radiologist, whose absence considerably affects service delivery.
Two technicians and technologists each and a nurse currently operate the unit. Officials said that while handling the patients for scan and post-processing of the images were performed by technologists, a radiologist is required to make the readings of the scan report.
During emergencies, officials said that patients are referred to either Thimphu or to the hospital in Bongaigoan, Assam.
Younten Tshedup | Gelephu