Lhakpa Quendren

Sarpang—The proposal for maintenance and renovation of Sarpang General Hospital in the upcoming 13th Plan faces uncertainty due to the planned development of the Gelephu Special Administration Region (GeSAR).

Even though the dzongkhag administration completed the drawing and design for a new hospital construction, approval for the project could not be obtained.

The ongoing moratorium on construction activities in Sarpang, imposed a year ago, continues to be in effect.

The hospital administration has proposed Nu 3 million for renovation in the upcoming plan, while the dzongkhag administration has also put forward a proposal of Nu 5 million for a major renovation.

Major renovation is required for Sarpang General Hospital

As part of the transformation process, the development activities and plans for health facilities have been transferred to the National Medical Services (NMS). This enables the hospital administration to propose projects to the health ministry through the NMS.

Sarpang’s deputy chief planning officer, Tshering Dendup, said that the dzongkhag administration had integrated the renovation plan into its activities as a backup.

“Coordination for the plans and activities is still underway due to the recent transition,” he said, adding that the primary responsibility of the dzongkhag health sector now is limited to monitoring and raising public awareness.

He was responding to the Shompangkha mangmi, Ash Man Rai, at the recent Sarpang Dzongkhag Tshogdu (DT), who suggested that maintenance activities should be considered in the upcoming plan if new construction is not feasible at the moment.

“It seems that the health sector has not been prioritised in the proposed activities for the 13th Plan,” said Ash Man Rai. “The existing beds, including electrical equipment, need repair.”

Established in 1963, the hospital structure has not undergone a major renovation since then. Currently, the ceilings in the wards are damaged, and the window frames and glass panes are broken.

Sarpang hospital’s chief medical officer, Yeshey Dorji, said that major renovation was necessary due to the age of the structure.

He added that the weakened beams in the ceiling pose a potential risk of collapse. “The ceilings and corrugated galvanised iron sheets, which affect the structure, need replacement.”

There is also leakage in the wards during the rainy season, which has led to damage to the sensitive machines, according to the hospital administration. One of the two ultrasound machines has been non-functional for some time now.

The hospital was upgraded from 10 beds to 20 beds, but it can only accommodate 16 beds due to the lack of space. With the increasing number of patient admissions to the hospital, there have been instances of patients being housed in the corridor during the summer.

Similarly, according to dzongkhag officials, most of the primary healthcare centres in the dzongkhag are also in need of renovations.