Lack of an early-detection test facility is causing the referrals

Dengue: Patients visiting the Phuentsholing general hospital to check if they have been infected by dengue are not happy that they are being asked to go to private clinics instead for the test.

Sonam Tashi, 20, said he does not know why the hospital staff asked him to go to a private clinic instead. “They kept a sample with them and asked me to take another sample to a private clinic,” he said. “They just said it couldn’t be done in the hospital.”

Sonam Tashi lives on the Toorsa embankment and works for a company there. Many patients being detected with dengue live in the area.

Another patient, Yeshey, also did not know why she was asked to go to a private clinic.

There are currently four private diagnostic centres in the town that have the capacity to check for and detect dengue.

The private diagnostic centres charge Nu 500 per test.

However, patients are complaining of the increasing costs.

Panchaman Rai of Dhamdara in Phuentsholing said that he paid Nu 950 yesterday and Nu 1,200 a few days back for blood test reports.

“I think the hospital must do something,” he said, adding that it does not make sense to visit the private clinics when there is a hospital available.

In October alone, the Garuda Diagnostic centre detected more than 100 dengue cases. The centre had detected more than 80 dengue cases in both August and September.

The Phuentsholing diagnostic centre proprietor, Sonam Rabgay said his clinic detected 20 positive cases so far this month.

Meanwhile, the medical officer-in-charge with the Phuentsholing general hospital, Thinley Pelzang explained that the hospital sends patients to check in the private clinics for early detection.

“The hospital does not have the facility to detect dengue early like in the private diagnostic centres,” he said.

The medical officer-in-charge added that the hospital has just the facility to detect dengue four to five days after being contracted. It is same with other hospitals across the country, he pointed out.

The dengue outbreak was first detected in August this year. Despite awareness programmes, the numbers have kept increasing.

More dengue cases are being detected among those Bhutanese who live across the border in Jaigaon.

The number of dengue cases in Phuentsholing has reached 335 as of yesterday, according to figures released by the general hospital.

Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing