Bartsham-Shongphu’s MP Passang Dorji yesterday at the National Assembly said that of the 32 kidney patients being treated at the eastern regional referral hospital, Mongar, 16 were from Trashigang, Trashiyangtse, Pemagatshel, Samdrupjongkhar and parts of Mongar.
He asked the health minister if the ministry could install a dialysis facility at Trashigang hospital for the benefit of the rural communities.
“A dialysis facility at Trashigang hospital will be of immense benefit to kidney patients from remote areas,” he said.
The MP said that kidney patients have to go twice a week to do dialysis at Mongar regional referral hospital.
Health Minister Dechen Wangmo said that although the need is genuine and the government wants to set up the dialysis centre, the high cost and lack of human resources were the main challenges at the moment.
She said it would need an investment of Nu 40 million would have to be made for a set of the dialysis machine.
She said that even if the machine is procured given the shortage of human resources it would be difficult. The country has only 21 medical specialists, 21 surgeons, 13 Gynecologists and 14 paediatricians.
“The centre will require around four nurses and three assistants on top of a medical specialist,” she said.
“Trashigang has only eight patients undergoing dialysis at Mongar and with lack of evidence of need there will be no equity even if the service is made available,” she said.
Lyonpo Dechen Wangmo said from the dialysis service available only at the national and two regional referral hospitals, the government instituted three additional units in Phuentsholing, Samtse and Paro during its tenure based on the caseloads.
She said that Bhutan has one dialysis centre for 90,000 people, which is one of the highest in the region.
MP Passang Dorji said the service status of other countries couldn’t be compared with Bhutan’s as they have private health centres providing dialysis services.
He said that of the 32, 11 are from Mongar and five are from Lhuentse and rest are from Trashiyangtse, Trashigang, Pemagatshel and Samdrupjongkhar and could be treated at Trashigang if there is service at Trashigang hospital.
“Some are staying in the capital and other places in the absence of such service in the dzongkhag,” he said.
He said the eastern region has the highest population and a single dialysis centre at Mongar for the whole region was unfair and needed policy intervention.