Kelzang Wangchuk | Samdrupjongkhar

Without a medical shop in town, residents of Samdrupjongkhar thromde say that they have to visit the hospital even to get a pill for a minor illness.

A resident, Tashi Choden, 46, from Samdrupjongkhar town ordered a cough-syrup for his daughter, who has been suffering from cough and headaches for about a week from India.

The only medical shop in the town closed during the nationwide lockdown because he had difficulty importing medicines since the border gate closed in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Another resident, Pema Dechen, said that the doctors prescribe medicines that have to be bought, but without a medical shop in the town, they have to buy from India or other dzongkhags. “Children and elders suffer from motion sickness while travelling.”

She said they could buy the medicines from the store for minor illnesses like cough and headache if there was a medical shop in the town.

Some residents said that it was difficult to buy medicines even from India as they don’t have anyone there. “It would help us if someone with a medical background could open a medical shop in the town.”

Those who don’t own a car have to hire a taxi to visit the hospital, even for some basic medication in the absence of a medical shop. “A medical shop would also benefit nearest dzongkhags such as Pemagatshel.”

Another problem for residents is that the condom vending machines in the town remain empty frequently. It has been challenging to get contraceptives.

Some men said that they feel uncomfortable visiting the hospital frequently to collect condoms.

Meanwhile, Drugs Regulatory Authority (DRA) officials could not be contacted.