When Prem Kumari Giri, 27, did her first pap smear test in Tsirang Hospital in 2015, the report wasn’t good.

As advised by the health officials, she took medicine and retested after three years.

The report came normal.

However, in the third pap smear conducted last month she was diagnosed with an abnormality in the cervix, which needs to be removed surgically.

Prem Kumari is one of the many women who availed the service at the gynaecology camp being conducted at Tsirang district hospital.

For the surgery she should have either been referred to Gelephu or Thimphu but this time the surgery is carried out in Tsirang hospital.

A team of about eight health workers headed by a gynaecologist from Gelephu referral hospital conducted the camp.

Prem Kumari said it is convenient for patients like her who otherwise could have incurred huge expenditure travelling to Gelephu or Thimphu. “I got a call from health workers here informing me about this gynaecology camp,” she said.

In absence of a regular gynaecologist in hospitals like Tsirang, women in need of such service are either referred to Gelephu or Thimphu hospital. “When we have doctors coming in our nearest hospital we can’t miss to visit them,” said another patient, Devi Maya Bhujel.

The 52-year-old woman had to surgically remove her womb 11 years ago in Mongar regional referral hospital. But recently she started having severe back pain, lower abdominal pain and heavy discharge. “I was thinking of going to Gelephu or Mongar itself if the pain continued for few more days.”

The dzongkhag health officer, Kinley, said that gynaecology camp is an annual programme.

He said that prior to the camp, health workers from Tsirang district hospital go to gewogs and village screening patients. “If patients are found to require further consultation with a gynaecologist during the screening, they are marked and called later for this camp.”

He said that since there is no gynaecologist in the hospital, the programme helps women avail service at the nearest location. “At least 30 women availed the service during the camp.”

The dzongkhag health sector conducts similar camps annually for other health services such as medical, dental and surgical camp.

Meanwhile, the gynecology camp is being conducted at the newly constructed hospital in Damphu.

People said they are expecting the new government would send a gynaecologist soon to the hospital according to the pledge.

The four-day camp ends today.

Nirmala Pokhrel   | Tsirang