Jigme Choden 

With the only doctor resigned to join the Kidu medical team and the temporary doctor completing his term, the grade I Basic Health Unit (BHU) in Gasa dzongkhag has been without a doctor.

However, the BHU had been without a doctor for only about a month and not four months as reported in the National Assembly on Tuesday when members were discussing the shortage of doctors.

Health Assistant, Wangchuk Dukpa said a new doctor is expected to join by first or second week of February.

About 10 to 20 patients visit the BHU daily, but health officials said not having a doctor is not a big issue. “We do face challenges in the absence of a doctor, but as of now there hasn’t any major issue regarding it,” said the HA. “We try to treat the patients here and refer them to Punakha or to the national referral hospital during major emergences.”

The BHU has about 22 medical staff and also has an ambulance.

The HA also said that they consult with specialists at the national referral hospital when they are not sure about the treatment.

Laya Gup, Lhakpa Tshering said the shortage of medical specialist in Gasa is not a big problem. “When the treatment is not readily available at the nearest BHU during the times of extreme emergencies, patients are evacuated from Laya to Thimphu by helicopter,” said the gup.

He also said that during winter, there are no emergencies as most Layaps migrate to Punakha.

However, the Gasa dzongrab, Dorji Gyeltshen said there is a need of a doctor at Gasa with increasing number of visitors to the hot spring. “If possible, a  female doctor would be preferred, as local feels comfortable with female doctors,” the dzongrab said.