The Japanese government donated Polysomnography and Auditory Brain-stem Response equipment for the ENT (ear, nose and throat) department at the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH) in Thimphu, yesterday.

Polysomnography is a test used to diagnose sleep disorders.

The equipment worth Japanese Yen eight million would help the hospital in providing appropriate examination and treatment to patients with hearing disability and sleep apnea syndrome.

The Project for Provision of Medical Equipment for JDWNRH was supported through the Japanese Government’s Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects (GGP).

Minister (Economic and Development), from the Embassy of Japan in New Delhi, India, Kenko Sone, said that in Bhutan, hearing impairment accounts for the highest numbers among the population living with disabilities. Early detection has been a significant challenge.

The other challenge, he pointed out was sleep apnea syndrome, which is associated with dysfunction of the throat muscle.

“People with this syndrome tend to get involved in traffic accidents due to excessive daytime sleepiness, which is further complicated by other diseases such as heart attack and arteriosclerosis,” he said.

JDWNRH is the only hospital that has specialised ENT treatment facilities in the country. He said that it played a major role in the treatment of patients with hearing impairment and sleep apnea syndrome.

While the number of patients visiting the hospital increase every year, the hospital was not able to provide good quality examination or proper treatment to the patients’ due to the lack of necessary equipment.

Considering this, he said that the Japanese government has decided to sponsor the equipment to provide appropriate treatment for approximately eight million patients with hearing disability and sleep apnea syndrome annually, as requested by the hospital.

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JDWNRH’s director Tshering Yangden said that Japan, through JICA has always supported the hospital.

The equipment, she said would enhance diagnostic services in the hospital, which in turn would improve the quality of its services and greatly contribute to improving the health system. “We thank the government of Japan for the grant aid and the support.”

The grant contract for the project was signed on March 3, last year.

The GGP scheme was established in 1989 to meet the diverse basic human needs in developing countries. The Japan government has been supporting Bhutan in various projects, such as the construction of bridges, provision of fire engines and compactor trucks.

Dechen Tshomo