Woman and baby die from birth complications 

Health: Thangza village in Lunana gewog, Gasa reported 23 children with hand-foot and mouth disease.

Except for a 16-year-old girl, the rest were below the age of eight. Around eight of the children were reported to have recovered, while the rest were given medication and care by two health assistants of Lunana.

Initially the case was reported as chickenpox or measles, but after sending pictures through social media-app Wechat to a doctor in Gasa, the case was confirmed as hand-foot and mouth disease, health sources said.

Health sources said the disease could be because of lack of sanitation. While the older children have rashes on body parts and buttocks, the younger kids have fever and soaring in the mouth.

Toenchay-Thangza chiwog tshgopa Pema, after learning about children suffering from same kind of disease, called the health assistants based in Hadey health outreach centre.

Hadey is around four hours walk from Thangza. The health assistants of Hadey have reached Thangza since February 17 and doing everything possible to help cure the children, the Tshogpa said.

“When I went to Thangza for some work, I came across several children suffering from the same symptoms with some even suffering since two weeks ago.” However, as always none of the parents took their children to health outreach centre at Hadey.

Symptoms common among the children were cough, fever, running noise, blisters or rashes on body and ulcers inside the mouth. Local people said it was the first time they saw the symptoms.

The ministry of health’s chief of public health laboratory, Sonam Wangchuk said the disease might be common amongst children, but could have left unreported. However, he said unlike earlier, today the centre has created an online and text-messaging service for event reporting at the Royal Centre for Disease Control. “Isolation was advised for hand-foot and mouth disease,” said officials.

Gasa dzongdag Dorji Dhradhul said the situation is under control and that the dzongkhag was informed that no additional backup medical facilities were required.

Meanwhile, Tshogpa Pema said a 27-year old woman from Wachay died along with her newborn baby, few hours after giving birth to the baby due to immense bleeding last week.

He said Wachay is around a day walk from Thangza with a mountain in between, and the woman, like many others in Lunana, had not visited health centre during her pregnancy. She gave birth at home.

Since there is no mobile phone connectivity in Wachay, the village health  worker managed to call the health assistant only around 1pm, following complications after birth at around 7am in the morning. It was a preterm birth, local sources said.

Dawa Gyelmo, Wangdue