The Samdrupcholing Basic Health Unit (BHU) grade I in Samdrupjongkhar needs more space to accommodate both patients and health officials.

Medical officer, Dr Ugyen Thinley, said the BHU has seven chambers and they have to adjust two clinics in a chamber.

He said the clinic for eye and clinical officer are arranged in one chamber while the laboratory and malaria sections share a chamber. “I cannot attend to patients sometimes when official guests visit my office, which also serves as a clinic,” the medical officer said.

With most of the elderly in Samdrupcholing drungkhag visiting the indigenous clinic, space has become an issue in the BHU. “It is important to design a designated clinic for indigenous units in every BHU grade I,” Dr Ugyen said.

The BHU is in need of additional structure for the existing and a new doctor, the eye, ENT, indigenous, ultrasound and x-ray units. “I also raised the issue in Phuntshothang gewog tshogde (GT) and we hope they will raise the issue in the dzongkhag tshogdu (DT),” Dr Ugyen Thinley said.

An official from the health ministry said that health services in Bhutan are primarily focused on equitable delivery of services that impact the whole population. However, when it comes to health infrastructure, proposals have to be routed through the local government except for national and regional referral health facilities.

“The proposal has to be submitted taking into consideration the criteria prescribed in the screening tool for infrastructure and service standards for health workforce and associated service facilities,” the official said.

The official said that old BHUs today have space problems because situations have changed. However, for infrastructure upgradation and new construction, the proposal should be routed through GT and DT. “Proposals that fulfil the criteria specified in the screening tool are always validated and considered for implementation.”

The officials also clarified that in the 12th Plan, given the emphasis on decentralisation and the resource allocation framework, local governments could make decisions involving proposals for certain level of health infrastructures or facilities.

Kelzang Wangchuk | Samdrupcholing