Samdrupcholing Basic Health Unit, grade I in Samdrupjongkhar needs an ultrasound and x-ray machine, according to health officials.

This, the medical officer Dr Ugyen Thinley said is because expecting mothers in the locality, who need antenatal care (ANC) and ultrasound facilities, have increased over the years.

He said the BHU has become like a referral hospital for other four gewogs of Phuentshothang, Samrang, Martsala and Pemathang since patients from these gewogs are referred to the BHU for further treatment.

Dr Ugyen Thinley said expecting mothers have to do ultrasound twice before delivery. “But if the condition is critical, they have to do an ultrasound once or twice a week.”

Samdrupcholing BHU sends more than 30 pregnant women to Dewathang and Samdrupjongkhar for ultrasound every month.

He said that without these services in the BHU, they have to send the patients to Dewathang and Samdrupjongkhar hospitals, which is extra burden for the people, who are economically disadvantaged. “They cannot afford to go to Dewathang and Samdrupjongkhar for these services.”

He said that having these services in Samdrupcholing BHU would help the poor, as he would be able to consult specialists and treat patients here.

Health officials say that besides expecting mothers, people with lungs, chest and abdomen, cardiovascular and respiratory problems also come to the hospital for ultrasound and x-ray services.

A patient, Tashi Wangmo, 35, from Raita, said ultrasound and x-ray services in the hospital are important for the people in the drungkhag. “It is difficult for us to go to Samdrupjongkhar and Dewathang.”

She said that the Samdrupcholing-Dewathang highway is not in good condition for patients to travel. “It would help the people in the drungkhag if the health ministry could establish the services or if the Department of Roads could maintain and blacktop the highway.”

A dzongkhag health official, requesting anonymity, said they are working on offering these services by this fiscal year.

An official from the health ministry said that under the decentralised structure, infrastructure development including the construction of BHUs, sub-posts and outreach clinics are budgeted and carried out by the district health office in line with the ministry’s guideline. “The local governments have to submit the proposal taking into consideration the criteria prescribed in the screening tool for infrastructure and service standards for health workforce and associated service facilities.”

Kelzang Wangchuk |  Samdrupcholing