Health minister Tandin Wangchuk said that the health ministry would support the proposal for constructing a healthcare centre in Lingden in Phuentsholing in accordance with the technical guideline and criteria of health infrastructure construction.
This was in response to Phuentsholing MP Rinzin Dorji’s question to the minister on the feasibility of constructing a Basic Health Unit (BHU) in the gewog during the question hour session of the National Assembly on May 19.
Lyonpo said that currently, there is no land identified for the construction of healthcare centre. The gewog administration has, however, assured the ministry to provide the land.
He said that while the need for a BHU in the chiwog appears to be genuine the local government authority has to propose the construction of the BHU during the 12th Five Year Plan (FYP) in-line with the decentralisation policy.
MP Rinzin Dorji said that the health centre would benefit more than 200 households in 12 villages.
“In absence of a healthcare centre in the chiwog, people have to travel all the way to Phuentsholing to avail of the healthcare services,” MP Rinzin Dorji said. “The long distance and the monsoon cause inconveniences to the people. The chiwog is cut-off during monsoon”
Lyonpo said that the proposed BHU would benefit 2,388 people.
“The nearest health centre for the people of Lingden is Phuntsholing hospital, which is located 60 km away,” Lyonpo said.
Phuentsholing hospital provides healthcare services once a month at an outreach clinic, which is located some 9kms away from Lingden.
North Thimphu MP, Tshering, said that the people of Dechencholing face difficulty availing healthcare services from the BHU, which is located inside the Royal Body Guards premises.
“The health centre has become old and the location of the facility is not in favour of the increasing population in the area,” MP Tshering said.
MP Tshering asked the health minister about the possibility of upgrading the Dechencholing BHU and measures to make people avail of healthcare services in the area easily.
The Out Patient Department caseload at the BHU was 19,863 last year.
Lyonpo said that the ministry would give constructing a new health centre during the 12th FYP a priority.
The three-acre land outside the RBG Headquarters has been identified for the construction.
Lyonpo said that the BHU in Dechencholing, which was constructed in 1966, is BHU I and has a doctor. However, the unit has only four in-patient beds and has no services like X-ray, laboratories services, and patient diet.
These facilities, including an ambulance, will be provided for the people in the area in the 12th FYP, Lyonpo said.
Of the 20 health workers, including a medical doctor and a dentist, 13 are from RBG. The RBG also supports the ministry in providing medical supplies and medicines to the BHU.
Lyonpo said that there is no restriction for the civilians to avail of health services from the BHU.
The BHU has a catchment population of about 8,000 people from the RBG, Kabisa, Taba, Jungsina and Dangrina.
Lyonpo said that the patients from Tango, Cheri, Dodeyna and Begana also visit the doctor at the Dechencholing BHU. “The ministry proposed to include construction of BHU I at Dechencholing considering the OPD caseload and the catchment population the health centre in the area can cater to.”
The new BHU is also expected to decongest the patients visiting the national referral hospital in the city, Lyonpo added.