Phub Dem | Haa

Jitsim, 40, from Dorithasa, Sombaykha came to deliver her third child at the Haa hospital. But she had no signs of labour pain.

Nurses said that she was already 42 weeks pregnant, which is post-term pregnancy. The hospital decided to refer her to Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH) following the procedure since there was no Gynocologist or a doctor in the hospital.

Jitsim did not want to go.

“I don’t have any relatives there. Where will I stay?” she said concerned.

Besides, she said that it was the virus (Covid-19) that she feared the most about Thimphu.

“If our hospital has a doctor, we don’t have to go anywhere. It is a struggle.”

Jitsim said that although Haa had a large hospital, it did not serve the purpose without any specialist.

It has been more than five months since the hospital is without a doctor.

Like Jitsim, Chundu, who required Physiotherapy is in Thimphu for his treatment. He said that although he was anxious about the Covid-19 infection, there was no other way to treat his joint pains.

“We need a doctor in our dzongkhag, especially at this crucial time.”

Without a specialist, residents of Haa are frustrated.

Clinical Officer (CO) of Haa hospital Tshewang Gyeltshen said, without a permanent doctor, he alone had to look after the emergency, Outpatient Department (OPD) and do ward rounds.

On average, the CO has to look after 50 patients a day. Besides, he said that while doing ward rounds, he failed to attend the outpatients, to which many people complain of having to wait longer.

Despite the lack of a specialist, he said the dzongkhag had a comprehensive Covid-19 response plan on how to handle a case.

Haa Dzongdag Kinzang Dorji said that the dzongkhag highlighted the absence of a doctor and ventilator as a challenge in the Prevention Management and Recovery Measures for Covid-19 in Haa dzongkhag’s manual.

He said that the situation wasn’t grave considering the proximity of Haa to other hospitals in Paro and Thimphu. Paro is a two-hour drive, and it takes an hour more to drop patients to Thimphu.

“The ventilators are not required at the moment, and for the moment, we have committed senior health workers.”

He said that during an emergency, there were ways to get help.

Meanwhile, Jitsem was sent to JDWNRH on Saturday.