Dechen Dolkar 

The health ministry is gearing up for the new Covid-19 management strategy that the government is planning from April.

The ministry has established four Covid-19 hospitals to treat positive patients in the country so far. The Covid-19 hospitals are at national Covid-19 hospital in Thimphu at Taba, regional Covid-19 hospital in Mongar, regional Covid-19 hospital in Gelephu and Covid-19 hospital in Phuntsholing.

With the current surge in Covid-19 cases in the country, the ministry has been instructed to establish a 150- bedded Covid-19 hospital in the eastern region and to enhance the capacity of the existing Covid-19 centres at the earliest.

The ministry has also written to the foreign affairs ministry  (MFA) to consider the urgency of the requirement and the time delayed through usual tendering process. It was learnt that the MoH is requesting MFA to explore medical devices through Royal Embassies and Consulate offices in the region.

The health secretary, Dr Pandup Tshering, said that Covid-19 hospital will be used only to treat positive patients who require medical care. The Covid-19 hospital will be equipped with dialysis unit, operation theater, ICU, delivery services.

“As long as Covid-19 is there in the country, the Covid-19 hospital will be there in the country,” the Secretary said.

The national Covid-19 hospital is located at Taba, Jigme Singye Wangchuck Law school student’s hostel. The hospital has more than 150 bedded with  10 adult ICUs, two pediatric ICU and five dialysis beds.

Currently, there are 10 positive patients at the Covid-19 hospital at Taba.

The medical superintendent, Dr Pem Chuki said that most of the patients are kept at Taba to monitor their health condition since they are with comorbidities. Currently there are three positive patients undergoing dialysis services. The eldest patient at Taba is a 95-year-old.

The 81-years-old woman who was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is given minimal oxygen.

There are 12 nursing staff and one doctor dedicated at the Covid-19 hospital working on a shift system.

She said that when specialists are required, they go to Covid-19 hospital from the national referral hospital in Thimphu.

The regional Covid-19 hospital in Gelephu is located at the old hospital campus. It has 24 beds with four ICU beds.

The officiating MS at Gelephu Central Regional Referral Hospital (CRRH), Dr Choeda said that as of now there are no serious positive patients in the hospital. Most of them are for monitoring their health conditions.

There are 18 patients in the hospital as of now. Six nursing staff and one doctor are on duty at the hospital.

“One positive pregnant mother also delivered in the Covid-19 hospital and she has been discharged after testing negative now,” he said.

Gelephu has also established an isolation facility near the domestic airport.

Dr Choeda said that in the facility there are two nurses and one supporting staff.

The regional Covid-19 hospital in Mongar at Royal Guest House has 53 beds. Currently, there are 22 positive patients in the hospital.

The MS at Mongar CRRH, Dr Pelden Wangchuk said that there is only one patient, requiring oxygen. He said that an 81-year-old man is a COPD patient. Rests are all in stable conditions.

Five nursing staff are deployed at the hospital.

The Covid-19 hospital in Phuentsholing is at the RIGSS building and DGPC office.