… the machine has been defunct since January

Nima Wangdi

Patients requiring computed tomography (CT) scan services in the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH) would not have to travel to Gelephu and Mongar soon.

This is because the defunct CT scan machine will be repaired towards the end of this month.

The CT scan machine has been down since January 24 this year.

Officials from the national referral hospital said a part of the machine ‘board’ malfunctioned.

The director of JDWNRH, Jigme Namgyel, said the machine could not be repaired as there were cargo-related problems in dispatching the spare parts from Singapore.

He said they requested to prioritise it and the spare parts reached Bhutan.

“We tried fixing it with the spare board that we purchased in February, but that did not work well. There were other problems too and that’s how it got delayed,” the director said.

He said the hospital wrote to the relevant companies asking them to fast-track the repair. “The CT scan engineer working in Singapore will be in Bhutan on bubble mode on April 23. “The machine will be fixed within six days as the engineer will be leaving back on April 29.”

According to the director, the engineer was supposed to be in the country on April 20 but was delayed due to some Covid-19 requirements in Thailand.   

He said an engineer with a local agent in Thimphu also worked hard on the machine but nothing much could be done.

The head of the biomedical engineer division at the hospital, Bir Man Rai, in an earlier interview claimed that they have not compromised the services to the patients and those critical ones who need CT scans are given MRI services. “Some were referred to Mongar and Gelephu.”

He had said that a spare part of the board was ordered from Singapore and it reached the country on February 13.

Officials from the hospital said a local engineer fixed it but they could not read the image clearly. “The hospital had to place order for the parts again,” an official said.

Meanwhile, CT scan machines were installed at the national referral hospital in Thimphu and the regional referral hospitals in Mongar and Gelephu in June 2018.

The engineer will also carry out comprehensive maintenance check up of the machine.