YK Poudel

During the question-and-answer session in the National Assembly on June 23, Sombaykha Constituency MP, Dorjee Wangmo and Khatoed-Laya Constituency MP, Tenzin raised concerns about the challenges faced by the rural communities of Gasa and Haa due to the lack of basic health amenities.

MP Dorjee Wangmo said that Sertena village under Gakiling gewog has received several services and medical camps at par with other hospitals, but they do not have access to effective medical treatment due to poor road connectivity. “Some are pregnant mothers and people with chronic illnesses that need medical attention.”

Similarly, MP Tenzin asked if there were any plans with the health ministry to provide staff and equipment at both Laya and Lungo sub-posts, which are located a day’s walk away from Gasa town. Access to healthcare, the MP says, is challenging for people in these areas.

“There is a pressing need for an electrocardiogram machine at the Gasa Hospital,” Tenzin said.

Sowai Lyonpo Dechen Wangmo informed the house that these issues on quality services in the health sector have been discussed in the ministry several times. Lyonpo said that any out-posts, outreach clinics (ORC) or hospitals have specific guidelines and policies to follow.

According to the minister, Sertena ORC receives 200 patients in a month. “There are several patients who need not necessarily visit national referral hospital to get their medicines. For them, a specific prescription refill process is completed as the health professionals take the required medicines to a particular ORC during their visit. There are about 60 of them who will receive this service henceforth.”

Lyonpo said that there are plans to increase the number of health officials visiting the ORC to twice a month. Currently, they can visit the ORC only once a month.

Moreover, Lungo sub-post and Laya Primary Health Care Centre in Gasa will have improved services once an HA is placed at Lungo sub-post.

Sowai Lyonpo said that several services have been established since the beginning of the current Plan in Gasa Hospital. “The hospital is constructed in a satellite clinic model which supports major healthcare services that is equal to the national referral hospital.”

“Doctors can provide certain services such as ultrasound, x-ray, and minor occupational therapy in Gasa Hospital in case of emergencies as the hospital already has these facilities,” she said.