Lifts are out of service

Nima | Gelephu

Less than four years into operation, tiles on the floor leading to the patient wards and staff chambers are cracked and false ceilings hung below original slabs have to be cut open almost daily at Gelephu Central Regional Referral Hospital (CRRH).

The staff of the maintenance division attend to sewer blockage and electrical problems every day. The false ceiling has to be removed to fix the leaks in the service lines.

“We keep some parts of the ceiling open for observation. It can be fixed. The maintenance work is done mostly at service line joints and where toilets are located,” he said

The official added that the problems are mostly in public toilets.

Sanitary pads and plastic bottles are not disposed of properly, which leads to problems: blocks in the sewer line and leaks.

The leaks at the joints have drenched some parts of the ceiling. Several parts of the false ceilings are mildewed from the seepage from the sewer lines. Water seeping in from the open terrace had worsened the conditions of ceilings and walls, according to the officials.

CRRH has spent over Nu 2 million already for maintenance and repair in the past two years, including repairs to the staff quarters and Covid-19 hospital.

A major portion of the budget was spent to develop minor changes at the hospital with new staff joining CRRH every year. “It was not to repair the old structure, but for new features,” said officials from the maintenance division.

The medical superintendent, Doctor Choeda, said the design of the hospital is not suited for the weather in the southern region.

“The gutter can hardly take all rain and it spills over the walls,” he said.

On the first floor, the walls close to the open terraces are stitched with lines of silver metal plates to stop leaks. The hospital plans to roof the open terraces and a corridor located near the patient wards.

Hospital officials said the expansion gaps between the blocks are wide, which could have been better designed.

Four lifts at the hospital are not in service. Two that are close to the general outpatient department were used only until 2019.

The hospital administration is trying to bring in specialists from India in a bubble mode, without having to quarantine.

Health officials working at CRRH said there have been frequent incidents of ceilings falling.

“Things have improved at the moment. A huge amount is needed to fix the ceilings. From the outside, it looks good, but internal structures are not well built. In some units, patient trolleys can’t even move properly,” he said.