Kelzang Wangchuk | Samdrupjongkhar

The Jomotshangkha hospital in Samdrupjongkhar has not been able to provide X-ray, ultrasound and many lab related services as the hospital has remained without electricity since October 1.

Health officials said they take their computer’s UPS (uninterruptible power supply device) to the Drungkhag Covid-19 control room, where they have a generator, to charge the UPS whenever they have to carry out testing for Covid-19.


The hospital use the traditional autoclave to sterilise medical instruments without electricity

Dental surgeon at the hospital, Doctor (Dr) Bepashana Giri said the UPS lasts only for about three hours and they have to charge it twice a day. “It is difficult without electricity. We have to do Covid-19 tests for the front liners,” she said.

She said they use candles in the wards, but even candles are running out of stock in the small town. The hospital has requested for a new generator, as they couldn’t repair the old one they had.

On an average, about 15 to 20 patients visit the hospital for lab testing and about eight to 10 patients come for ultrasound services.

The hospital has resorted to using the traditional autoclave to sterilize equipment for dressing sets, delivery sets, dental instruments and mother and child health (MCH) examination set. Fire is built outside the hospital for the autoclave.

“It is hard to maintain temperature for the MCH injections. We use a kerosene fridge, but it is not efficient,” Dr Bepashana Giri said.

Electricity supply is expected to be restored today as the Bhutan Power Corporation (BPC) officials are almost done with erecting poles and wiring. The power supply to Jomotshangkha drungkhag was disrupted due to the heavy rain and strong wind on October 1, according to a notification on BPC’s Facebook page. Officials could not proceed to repair as the line fault was found between Samrang and Jomotshangkha.

The notification stated that a big tree fell on a conductor and damaged the double pole structure and two spans of the conductor. A BPC line patrolling team on October 2 found the default at Nuito top between Khowrong and Augutar. The location is remote without road and no mobile network coverage.

Drungkhag officials and people from the gewogs are helping BPC officials in transporting materials to site.