Medical camp in Punakha draws moderate response

There were many, however, who were not told of this chance to consult US specialists

Health: More than 300 people, mostly children consulted doctors from USA, who were in Punakha hospital for a five-day health camp that was organised by Helping Hands-health and education, a US based nonprofit organisation in collaboration with the health ministry.

A team of 11 – a gynaecologist Dr Sue Haney, three paediatricians Dr Tom Boschen, Dr Michell Haney Kerr and Dr Herb Rheingrubex, three nurses, along with four others, conducted the check up.

“I came rushing after the tshogpa informed about the medical camp,” said Sonam Choden, a Punakha villager. “It’s an opportunity to consult experts.”

“We’d be grateful, if such camps could be conducted twice a year,” another villager, Namgay Zam, said.

However, there were also others, who weren’t aware about the camp. “It’s the local leaders’ responsibility to inform everyone,” said a villager, who heard about the camp only yesterday.  Most villagers heard about it on reaching the hospital for other purposes.

The dzongkhag administration informed the local leaders about the health camp.  The camp started on April 15 and ended yesterday.

Founder and president of Helping Hands-ealth and education, Narayan Shrestha, said this was their first medical camp in Bhutan, the sixth country where they have conducted such check ups.  The other countries include Nepal and Namibia, among others.

The Nepali origin and US-based NGO founder said he was encouraged to conduct this camp following his meeting with Her Majesty Gyalyum Tshering Yangdon Wangchuck, on the way to Paro Taktshang in 2011.

“Gyalyum, after listening to our interest in organising a medical camp in Bhutan, told us that such a cause would be helpful to the people and encouraged us,” he said.

He said he visited the country in 2013 and 2014, and put up a proposal with the health ministry.

“The health minister, director general, the district administration, Punakha hospital and all officials supported and helped us,” he said. “We’re also planning to start our office in the country.”

By Dawa Gyelmo, Punakha

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