Choki Wangmo, | Tsirang

With the opening of an operation theatre (OT) in Damphu hospital on July 2, residents of Tsirang and neighbouring gewogs in Dagana will have easy access to the services closer to home.

Patients, at present, requiring surgical services are either referred to the national hospital in Thimphu or the central regional referral hospital in Gelephu.

Lyonchhen Dr Lotay Tshering, who visited Tsirang on the weekend, conducted the first few surgeries of the day. There were six patients.

Patients and caregivers were visibly overjoyed.

Dil Bdr Limbu’s four-year-old son had been suffering from phimosis, a condition where the foreskin in the genital organ can’t be retracted. Without specialists and surgeons in Damphu hospital, he was worried when his son was first diagnosed with the condition. “It would be expensive for us to travel to Gelephu or Thimphu. It is risky to travel during monsoon.”

He said that the OT services would greatly benefit the residents. “Critical patients can get quicker services too,” he added.

Dil Bdr Limbu’s son was the first patient in the OT.

Most of the patients in the OT were admitted for gallstone removal.

Bhim Bdr Monger from Dunglagang accompanied his father for gallstone removal. Earlier, his father was referred to the national hospital in Thimphu. “We got an appointment for the surgery after six months. It is a long wait as my father is in pain,” he said.

The new OT service solved his problems.

Senior dzongkhag health officer Gang Dorji said that the OT services would help local residents avail surgical services without having to travel out of the dzongkhag.

As there are plans to identify Damphu hospital as one of the cluster hospitals, he said that more services would be available to residents soon.

A cluster hospital should have access to four services—general surgery, paediatrics, medical, and gynecological.

The hospital will have paediatric and medical services by January next year, Gang Dorji said.

Currently, the gynecologist is on a maternity leave.