Nima Wangdi 

With the establishment of three thromde health centers (THCs) in Thimphu, patients can expect shorter queues at JDWNRH hereon. The centers at Bebena, Semtokha, and Debsi will cater to the people in the localities. 

Ministry of Health handed over Bebena THC to Thimphu Thromde yesterday. The new centres at Semtokha and Debsi will be inaugurated today. 

The centres will have a general duty medical officer, two Health Assistants, and relevant technicians. They will provide basic services like a BHU grade one such as laboratory services, X-Ray, ultrasound, oral health and eye health services, family health services, minor OT, and basic trauma services. 

In addition to these services, endoscopy services will also be available at the Bebena THC according to the joint press release from Thimphu Thromde and the health ministry. 

 Sowai Lyonpo Dechen Wangmo, during the inauguration yesterday, said Thimphu caters to almost 155,000 residents from 20 dzongkhags and sees some 500,000 OPD cases every year. “We realised that we must have a strategy to not only decongest JDWNRH but also take services closer to the neighbourhood.”

She said that JDWNRH currently functions as a national referral hospital, regional referral hospital, dzongkhag hospital, and a teaching hospital for Khesar Gyalpo University of Medical Sciences of Bhutan. The hospital has to see patients suffering from diarrhoea to cancer. 

“We have been able to decentralise and improve health services with this project,” she said. 

Officials from the health ministry said that the basic services have already started at THCs while starting advanced services like X-Ray, ultrasound, and lab might take a few weeks as some of the machines are still on the way. “The machine installations are difficult and it should be done by the suppliers and ministry’s biomedical engineers jointly.”

The three THCs were constructed with grant support from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) under its Health Sector Development Program (ADB-HSDP). The construction of the THCs at Bebena, Simtokha, and Debsi cost a total of Nu 23.42 million, Nu 22.99 million and Nu 24.22 million respectively.

ADB’s Country Director, Shamit Chakravarti said ADB is also strengthening the primary health care services and purchasing medical equipment for Dagana, Monga, Pemagatshel, Samdrupjongkhar, Trashigang, Trashiyangtse, Trongsa, and Zhemgang.