Tshering Namgyal | Mongar

Each time Sonam, a mother from one of the remotest gewogs in Lhuentse visits Mongar eastern regional referral hospital (ERRH) for her baby boy’s follow-up check-up, having to wait for a long to meet the only pediatrician in the hospital who’s on the ward round, becomes an expensive deal.

Besides spending more than Nu 2,000 to reserve a bolero pick-up truck to catch the local bus that plies between Lhuentse and Mongar, she has to book a hotel room if fails to catch the bus for the return journey. “By the time the pediatrician gets back to the chamber it is already been noon and. It is very difficult but we have little option.”

The case is similar with gyanacologist; the district hospital in Lhuentse does not have one.

Patients say that availing out-patient department (OPD) service in the early hours is impossible, especially on operation theatre (OT) days which happens twice a week.

“But we don’t blame the doctors because we understand that the issue is due to human resource problem in the hospital,” a woman said.

The ongoing construction of the 65-bedded Gyaltsuen Jetsun Pema Mother and Child Hospital (MCH) in Monggar is expected to address the issue. The hospital is being designed to offer subspecialty paediatrics and gynaecology services in six eastern districts.

The hospital is expected to be ready by July 2025.

The MCH is being constructed on the premise of the Royal Guest House, a few kilometres away from Mongar core town.

Lhamo, a mother from Drepong, said the new MCH would make it easy for people to avail neonatal services. “It will also save many lives.”

The MCH is being constructed at a cost of more than Nu 935 M which will be a model hospital with world-class facilities and specialists for mothers and children.