Health ministry changes name of health facilities

Dechen Tshomo

There will be no more BHUs (Basic Health Units). In place of BHUs there will be Primary Health Centres and hospitals.

This is an initiative of the health ministry who has amended the nomenclature of some of the health facilities, as an innovative means to encourage delivery of services in a more efficient and people-centred approach.

The revision, according to a notification from the health ministry was made as per the resolution of the health ministry’s first Emergency High-Level Committee meeting.

The revision was made considering the changing dynamics in how healthcare services are being delivered to the Bhutanese people. It is also in keeping with the new healthcare governance instruments that are being continuously formulated, revised and improved such as the human resource and service standards.

Basic Health Unit grade IIs (BHU II) will be called Primary Health Centres.

Basic Health Unit grade I (BHU I) will now be called hospital (10-bed).

A health official said the nomenclature was change to strengthen the execution of the essential mandates of BHU grade IIs that is to strengthen primary healthcare services. “The change is also in alignment with regional and global practices.”

The official said medical doctors are posted till BHU grade I and have the capacity to carry out diagnostic procedures and provide services similar to that of the 20-bed hospitals.

“Therefore, in order to avoid confusion and to enhance confidence among patients and the general public, the nomenclature of BHU I is changed to a 10-bed hospital.”

The meeting also recommended that a medical doctor be posted and additional services such as laboratory, Pharmacy, USG (ultrasonography) and X-ray were made available at the Thromde Health Centre, which was earlier known as satellite clinic.

Earlier, satellite clinics were equipped with just one clinical officer, which are non-MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) and two health assistants.

The official said with the nomenclature of the facility changed along with the improvement and expansion of services, the motive was to bring health services closer to the people and reduce OPD workload among the bigger hospitals located in thromdes.

The status quo of other health facilities will remain the same.

The change in nomenclature was also initiated to align the ministry’s efforts to the Primary Health Care approach, embrace innovative means to encourage the delivery of services in a more efficient and people-centred manner, and to comply with regional and global best practices.

Health officials said the changes in nomenclature are also expected to ease the deployment of specialists to facilities that do not merit their placement as per existing standards.

“The ministry plans to deploy specialists to health facilities through the ‘cluster approach’ wherein hospitals will be assigned as a nodal facility for more than one district for selected specialists care by considering parameters such as distance/ proximity, population, caseloads and road access.”