For more than a month now, the X-ray machine in Dagapela hospital in Dagana has been defunct. Patients are travelling to Tsirang to avail the service.

The machine broke down on June 7 after the hospital experienced power fluctuation. The new machine was installed in the hospital on March 8.

Chief of bio-medical equipment division, Tashi Penjore said that Dagapela in one of the health centers in the country that faces frequent problem with power supply. Before the machine is repaired, the department of medical services with the health ministry has recommended the hospital to rectify the power connection.

“As soon as the power supply is rectified, we’ll repair the machine,” he said. Although the machine is within the warranty period, the supplier is not able to cover the spare parts within the warranty period

Power fluctuations had damaged medical equipment at the hospital in the past, he said. “Prior to installing this new machine, the hospital had rectified power lines, yet it got damaged,” he said.

Between March 8 and June 7, the hospital provided X-ray service to at least 345 patients. In March alone 87 people were scanned, 118 in April and 112 in May. In the first week of June before the machine broke down, 28 patients were scanned.

Officials at the hospital said it has two-power line connections and while the X-ray and laboratory unit use III phase line, others are connected with II phase. The connection was changed with rewiring in 2015.

Currently, rectification works are ongoing and is expected to complete soon.

In absence of the X-ray machine, patients travel to Damphu General Hospital. Dagana Hospital also does not have an X-ray service and patients from Dagana were availing service from Dagapela hospital, which is about 40km away.

It is not known when the machine will be back to service. “Service will resume as soon as the rectification is done. Spare part is already on the way,” Tashi Penjore said.

Nirmala Pokhrel | Tsirang