Chimi Dema | Tsirang
Mendrelgang gewog in Tsirang lost its lone female health assistant (HA) in grade II primary health centre (PHC) two years ago.
Gewog leaders said lack of female nurse affected delivery of health service, particularly pap smear tests to women in the community.
Gup Yeshi raised the concern at the recent dzongkhag tshogdu (DT).
He said that the dzongkhag health officials agreed to deploy a female nurse in the gewog PHC last year, but did not send anyone until now.
He said not many women in the community feel comfortable availing health services from male health assistants. “When they do not avail the services out of discomfort, they might face health complications in the future.”
Questioning the lengthy process, the gup asked health officials to clarify why they did not send the female nurse.
The gewog mangmi, Tshering, said that while some women can travel to the dzongkhag hospital to avail services, many cannot due to financial reasons and other factors.
“It would immensely benefit our women if a female nurse is deployed at the earliest,” he said.
If deployed, women in Barshong gewog would also benefit. The gewog is about 34kms away from Mendrelgang.
The DT chairperson, Shiva Lal Kararia, said the agenda has been deliberated several times in the past DTs.
The dzongkhag health officer, Kinley, said they agreed to deploy only if it was possible.
“We identified an official who agreed to go to Mendrelgang,” he said. “But as she received a transfer order to another dzongkhag, we’re waiting for a confirmation from the dzongkhag human resource committee.”
The official also said that they have requested the health ministry to deploy a female nurse. “But it was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.”
He said that if the hospital receives an additional female nurse, they would deploy directly in the gewog’s PHC.
Kinley said that for gewogs that do not have female health assistant, mobile gynecological clinic and screening camps ensured that women avail services from health assistants, nurses, and doctors.
Meanwhile, the DT also recommended the health sector to explore possibilities of deploying female nurse in place of a male HA. There are three male health workers in the PHC.
The DT decided to write about the issue to the health ministry if the dzongkhag health sector fails to address the issue.