The people of Haa boast of the best hospitals among the dzongkhags. But the new hospital has failed to live up to the expectation of the people without a doctor to attend to their needs.

Aum Kinley, a resident of Haa shared her experience of having to call doctors from the military hospital when her daughter gave birth. “There is no specialist although we have a well-structured hospital. There is no use of having such a big hospital if we have no doctors or specialists.”

Like Kinley, there are many who share their frustration and are dissatisfied with the services. Residents said they still prefer the military hospital because of better services and specialist there. A resident of Haa town  said, “Thimphu is too far for emergency cases, thus we prefer the military hospital.”

However, according to District health officer (DHO) Samten, the hospital is run by a senior clinical officer only recently. “The hospital had been comfortable until June with three doctors- one on contract and two regular doctors,” he said.

The two doctors are currently pursuing postgraduate medicine at the Khesar Gyalpo University of Medical Sciences of Bhutan (KGUMSB).  Samten said the doctor on contract is on leave and was planning to resign for health reasons.

However, the dzongkhag has not approved the request, since the hospital is in dire need of a doctor.

The dzongkhag administration requested the health ministry for two doctors, which the ministry agreed in principle to send one within this month. “We are expecting a senior doctor earliest by July end or starting August,” said Samten.

The hospital, he said had been running comfortably without doctors because the senior clinical officer was as good as  young graduate doctors. “He was an officiating doctor at Bali BHU, and is competent.”

The Outpatient Department (OPD) was facing challenges. Initially, a doctor did ward round and the other two would look after the general patient. “The medical reports and processes are delayed now and patients have to wait extra hours. I think that is why people are complaining,” said Samten.

The hospital has facilities like ultrasound machine, dental surgeon, X-rays, laboratories, mother and childcare, and nearly 60 other health professionals. There is no ear nose and throat (ENT) services. The hospital requires two technicians for the service and is still waiting for it.  

The 20-bedded hospital is inclusive of all the facilities- ward services such as delivery, paediatric, separate male and female ward, isolation rooms, and postnatal care rooms. “There are adequate human resources and facilities. Besides lack of doctors, Haa has the best hospital,” DHO, samten said.

The hospital was inaugurated on May, 12 last year. The project cost the government Nu 135 million. Meanwhile, Bali Basic Health Unit (BHU) grade I was upgraded to Haa Traditional Medicinal hospital.

Bali BHU was an essential healthcare centre to the people of Haa for decades before the hospital was constructed.

Phub Dem  | Haa