Health: To ease the load of Samdrupjongkhar general hospital and help labour agents, a private diagnostic centre has opened in Samdrupjongkhar since July 13.

The first in the east, Samdrupjongkhar diagnostic centre will screen expatriate workers besides attending patients. It has radiology facility and would also test blood and urine, the results of which are required to obtain a medical certificate (MC) to process a work permit from the labour ministry.

Its proprietor Sonam Tsewang said, today the hospital has to bear this responsibility and see other patients. The hospital can give more attention to patients by diverting this service to the centre. The hospital would issue the MC.

The centre’s opening would also mean that labour agents should mandatorily screen labourers through the centre.

“The centre aims to help labour agents get MCs on time and also with Kholongchu hydropower construction to begin soon, labourers are expected to increase and add to the hospital’s patient load,” Sonam Tsewang said.

Since it’s well equipped with Bhutanese technicians including a radiologist, the proprietor claims that the centre can provide efficient service.

After almost a year, the health ministry approved the establishment of the diagnostic centre worth Nu 3M.

The centre will also provide hematology, biochemistry and pathology test services. Its fees range from Nu 50 to Nu 600.

The centre has come at a time when the hospital sees frequent breakdown of X-ray machine and due to lack of human resources and facilities, it has been unable to conduct urine, X-ray or blood test.

The hospital receives about 40 to 150 labourers a day and the MC for any purpose is issued only from 4pm – 7pm.

Health officials said labourers can now get screened at the centre and help the hospital detect malaria and or tuberculosis.

“We will make sure to clinically examine them and if there is discrepancies between the clinical diagnosis and the report, we’ll make sure to screen again before issuing the MC,” a health official said. “But with this centre, the pressure on hospital will definitely decrease.”

By Yangchen C Rinzin,  Samdrupjongkhar