Facility: Patients at the Sipsu hospital in Samtse say that the state of its bathrooms are unacceptable and need to be improved.

There are three bathrooms for patients in the hospital but one has been converted into a store while the other two have been blocked for the past three weeks.

There is a bathroom located outside the hospital, but water supply problems exist resulting in hygiene issues. Some patients say that the outdoor bathroom is located too far a distance for the more serious patients.

A patient, who recently delivered a baby at the hospital, said she could not take a shower in the bathroom and had to wait for night to fall so that she could use the tap near the hospital’s parking space.

A Sipsu resident, Sushanta Parajuli, said the bathroom condition was so bad that she had to take her mother to the jungle. “I think it is high time the government looked into this matter,” she said.

A patient escort, Shanti Ram Sharma, said toilets in the grade I BHU are blocked most of the time and worsen the condition of patients. “Something has to be done with the toilet facility here.”

Another patient escort, Tikaram Ghalley, said there must be some problem with the bathroom’s septic tanks, as the toilets stink even after it is cleaned. “The bathroom doors are also not in a condition for use,” he said. “The bathroom must be maintained soon for the public’s benefit”.

A Sipsu resident said the hospital is in dire need of maintenance. “Forget about maintaining hygiene, the patients also have no place to take showers,” the resident said. “The indoor patients have to use a toilet behind the laboratory, which is about 300 metres from the ward.”

Meanwhile, patients and attendants complained that the ward building has a staff toilet, which should be opened for serious patients.

Sushanta Parajuli, however, said one of the staff refused to open the staff bathroom saying it was not usable.

Sipsu hospital’s doctor, Yeshey Dorji, said that they are waiting for  budget to construct new bathrooms. “We are planning to make two additional toilets if we get budget,” the doctor said.

Dr Yeshey Dorji said that the hospital has only one functional toilet in the ward at present. However, the doctor also pointed out that people do not use the toilets properly. “Despite repeated advice people throw sanitary pads in the toilet,” Dr Yeshey Dorji said, adding that such behaviour leads to toilets getting blocked. Meanwhile, hospital staff also said there is a water problem as  water supply is not consistent.

Established in the 1970s, the hospital caters to six gewogs in Samtse. Bara, Tendruk, Pemaling (Biru), Sipsu, Namgaycholing (Laureni), and Sangachholing (Chargharay) are the gewogs.

The hospital, with 20 beds, doesn’t have other facilities like ultrasound and X-Ray.

Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing