Tshering Namgyal | Mongar

Health assistant Tashi Yoezer and his wife have served most of their career in Basic Health Units (BHU) in remote places. But their recent place of work at Thangrong, Mongar is a cause of concern.

The couple transferred from Kengkhar to Thangrong lives in a staff quarter, but the walls and floors have developed cracks with a portion of the quarter severely affected that the inside of the room has become visible from the outside.  They occupy one of the units on the top floor of the four-unit BHU.

The couple has no choice, as there are not many houses around to rent. Even if there are, they cannot stay away from the BHU as they have to attend emergencies. “We decided to take the risk,” Tashi Yoezer, who was transferred from Kengkhar BHU in January this year along with his wife from Yangbari BHU said.

The couple said every time it rains heavily, they get out of the house to monitor what’s happening. “We’re worried of earthquake but there’s no alternative,” said Tashi Yoezer.

They are waiting for the renovation of the old BHU to be completed to move into it. The roof of the old BHU was leaking which is currently undergoing a minor maintenance by the gewog. “Although the floors are damaged the old BHU is safer,” Tashi Yoezer said.

The concrete staff quarter, meant for two health assistants (a male and female), caretaker and to be deputed Menpa was constructed at the cost of Nu 7.5 million in 2012.

Chief district health officer (CDHO), Tshering Dorji, said the cracks were caused by seepage of storm water that got underneath the building last monsoon when the gewog experienced two weeks of continuous rain.

As a mitigation measure, he said, the drainage system was strengthened to drain out the water that accumulated around the structure while a diversion has been made below the gewog office. He said there is also a plan to develop diversion above the gewog office.

However, the structure has been kept under observation, following directives of engineers, to see if it would collapse. The single-story BHU constructed at a cost of Nu 28 million in 2015, also has cracks on the walls outside and partition walls inside.

“There is nothing to worry as the cracks were due to filling done to level the ground,” said the CDHO.