YK Poudel

Bumthang—Recently, a nurse from Tang Primary Health Center (TPHC) resigned leaving the health center with a lone health assistant (HA) who has to make himself available for all services.

Villagers in Tang, meanwhile, grapple with the absence of a female nurse, making women in particular, uncomfortable when seeking medical assistance and services.

The TPHC presently provides major primary health care services including out-patient and in-patient services, observation, mother and child, laboratory, maternity, emergency and traditional medicine services.

HA Tashi Dhendup, said that on average over 20 people visit the center daily. The center has a traditional medicine health worker to cater to the traditional services including herbal bath.

Tashi Dhendup said that seasonal diseases and infections like common cold, skin diseases and eye infections are common among students. “With improvement in sanitation, the cases of diarrhea have greatly reduced,” he said.

The center also provides annual elderly care camps across the gewog for the convenience of senior citizens. He said that the TPHC covers 400 households where over 2,000 patients visit annually and requires immediate attention. “Being the lone staff here is challenging,” he said.

“Every month, I have to visit five outreach clinics (ORCs) across the gewog. In my absence the TPHC remains shut,” he said. “Having an additional staff would allow smooth flow of services.”

The villagers, especially women, have been raising the need for a female health worker at the earliest.

Moreover, as per health guidelines, a gewog health center should be manned by at least a basic health worker, a health assistant and an auxiliary nurse and midwife.

The need for additional health workers has been raised several times to the gewog and dzongkhag with no attention thus far.

Although, he said, equipment for major health care services is not an issue currently, having a technical expert would allow efficient services at the center itself.

Tang Gup Ugyen Nima, said that the gewog will support certain facilities at the center in its 13th Plan. “The need for additional health workers has to be routed through the dzongkhag since the human resource is managed by the dzongkhag,” he said.

The government has pledged to deliver one doctor and adequate health staff, including one female health worker in all gewogs based on need. The government has also promised to ensure that every Bhutanese will be provided with an annual comprehensive health check-up including blood test, endoscopy and ultrasound.