Phub Dem | Paro

Located about a 30-minute rough drive from Sombaykha drungkhag, Rangtse, a clustered village, has a population of about 600. However, without a health sub-post, the villagers have to go to the drungkhag to avail themselves of health service.

Gakiling Gup Gashey proposed a sub-post considering the population, school and government office in Rangtse during the dzongkhag tshogdu. “There are five chiwogs in Gakiling, and Rangtse is one of the biggest. An outpost will benefit the people.”

However, according to Haa dzongkhag health officer, Samten, other than relocating the sub-post at the drungkhag to Rangtse, there was no provision in constructing a new health centre in Gakiling.

He said that of the total seven health centres in Haa, five were in two southern gewogs of Haa, and Gakiling was the only gewog with three health centres. “There are only 11 health assistants; Gakiling has four.”

With the road connecting every chiwog, Samten suggested that the gewog could propose upgrading the existing sub-post to Basic Health Unit- grade I to benefit the locals of both the gewog.

Samten said that the ratio of health staff to population was 1 to 40 people, a substantial financial burden to the state. “Only one or two patients visit the health centre in a day.”

According to DT chairperson, Thinley, currently, there are two BHU-II in Dorithasa and Yangtsena, but many people are not availing of the services. “On the other hand, Rangtse is in dire need of a health centre.”

He said that the health sub-post at drungkhag catered for about 30 government officials and recommended relocating the sub-post at Rangtse. “The officials at drungkhag can avail services from Dorithasa, which is about a two-hour drive.”

Local leaders of Sombaykha and Samer shared their concerns about relocating the sub-post, reasoning that the locals of two gewogs have to avail the services while visiting the drungkhag.

Samer gup Tshewang Tobgay said that the construction of the sub-post was part of infrastructure development in the drungkhag. “There is a need to consider the prospect of upgrading the sub-post, which will benefit the gewogs.”

However, the members agreed on having a BHU-I in the drungkhag.

According to dzongkhag health officer (DHO), the sub-post at drungkhag has the infrastructure to house health staff if upgraded to a ten-bedded BHU-I.

Moreover, as per the 12th five-year plan, there is no provision to build BHU-II but upgradation is possible.

As per the DHO, there is a need for BHU grade I in two southern gewogs as emergency patients have to cross Tergola to reach Haa hospital. “We are losing thousands in ambulance services.”

Supporting the prospect of having a BHU-I in the drungkhag, Gakiling gup agreed not to relocate the health facility if it is provided with uninterrupted outreach clinic (ORC) services twice a month in the gewog.

Thrizin asked whether compromising the potential health centre in Rangtse was a fair deal with the plan of establishing BHU-I in the drungkhag.

Sombaykha Drungpa Tsheltrim Dorji said that having a BHU-I in the drungkhag would solve many issues because, without a doctor, many people have to visit Haa hospital.

He said that the sub-post had been catering for those visiting Rangtse Nye, which has increased drastically over the years. “It is time to come up with a consolidated decision that will help the locals.”

As a temporary measure, DT resolved to continue ORC service to Rangtse twice a month.

During the Plan’s midterm review, Haa dzongkhag administration informed the Gross National Happiness Commission about the proposal to reprioritise gewog’s budget to upgrade the sub-post to BHU-I.

According to the planning officer, Cheda Jamtsho, the dzongkhag was planning to study the prospects before submitting an official proposal to the GNHC.