Dechen Dolkar  

A Forty-six-year-old stomach cancer patient travelled from Thimphu to Mongar for computed tomography (CT) scan machine services last week.

The patient had an appointment for CT scan at Mongar regional hospital on February 21. However, they had to return back from Bumthang due to heavy snowfall and they travelled from Gyalpoizhing-Nganglam highway. They were late by a day.

The CT scan machine at Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH) has been down since January 24, this year.

The head of the biomedical engineer division at the hospital, Bir Man Rai said that they had consulted with the company.

CT scan machine was installed at the national referral hospital in Thimphu, and the regional referral hospitals in Mongar and Gelephu in June 2018. He said that the machine is still two years of warranty.

“The part of the machine ‘board’ malfunctioned inside the machine. A spare was ordered from Singapore and it has reached the country on February 13,” he said. “A local engineer fixed it.”

He said that while the machine is functional after maintenance, they could not read the image clearly. “They have corresponded with the company and we need to calibrate the machine.”

“We need calibration kits and have placed an order with the company. It is expected to arrive soon,” he said.

However, he said that they have not compromised the services to the patients, those critical patients who need CT scans are given MRI services. “Some cases can also be done in the MRI.”

He said that with Thimphu under lockdown, there are no outpatients seeking the services.

Meanwhile, some of the patients who needed a CT scan were sent to Mongar regional hospital and Gelephu.

Additional isolation facility 

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health is also exploring the possibility of establishing an isolation facility at Taba. The isolation facility will be at the Jigme Singye Wangchuck Law school students’ hostel.

According to Health Secretary Dr Pandup Tshering, the isolation facility will be used to treat Covid-19 positive patients providing essential medical services like delivery, operations, and dialysis.

However, he said that the ministry is yet to decide on this.