132 bedside toilets supplied to bedridden patients so far 

Kuenlek Tshomo Tshering | Intern 

What has toilets got to do with compassion? Bhutan Toilet Organisation (BTO) has the perfect answer!

The organisation has distributed 132 bedside toilets in three dzongkhags of  Samtse, Chukha, and Haa through its project called the “Toilet of Compassion.”  The project which started  in 2022 is indeed a  compassionate move to improve the lives of bedridden patients, persons  with disabilities (PwDs) and elderly people who find using conventional toilets or going to one, difficult.   

 The bedside toilets have proven to be a success, empowering patients by granting them easy access to a hygienic toilet located right next to their beds when they cannot reach a usual toilet. 

The initiative  is  viewed by many as an altruistic act  besides revamping the hope of many bedridden patients.  The beneficiaries expressed their gratitude.  

 Damphu MSS’s  Vice Principal  Kado  said, “As a spinal cord injured patient, my main challenge is with my gallbladder. Using a catheter multiple times a day is a necessity. Without instant access to a toilet, accidents are common.”  

Kado said  the bedside toilet has been a lifesaver, especially at night, allowing him  to manage his  needs conveniently. “Its portability also means I can take it with me wherever I go, providing peace of mind and independence,” 

 The project, pioneered  by Chablop Passang Tshering, the Executive Director of BTO, was inspired by a conversation with Yangka, a health assistant from Chukha, who highlighted the necessity for patient accessible toilets.    

 BTP’s Project Manager Tshedrup Dorji said that despite working with different civil society groups such as Ability Bhutan Society, the Royal Society for Senior Citizens, and Draktsho, BTO  solely  relies on public donations, particularly from Toilet Angels to proceed this project.   BTO had been reaching out to organisations and individuals to help them help those in need. 

“Our funding is entirely from public contribution. It is a  shared duty. We encourage everyone to donate,” Tshedrup said.   

Tshedrup Dorji, said  that the BTO  prioritises providing free toilets to individuals who are financially disadvantaged or lack adequate support systems.   

However, for those who come from more stable backgrounds and have the means to afford, BTO encourages them to buy to sustain its operations and reach a wider audience in need.    

Meanwhile, Tshedrup Dorji said that toilet conditions, especially for PwDs, are in dire conditions. “BTO has  built an  upgraded toilet for a  monk in Chukha, featuring handrails for independent use.”  

He expressed  satisfaction with the new plastic toilet constructed by BTO, highlighting its prevention of blockages and odors, significantly improving comfort.  

 The Toilet of Compassion Project, according to Tshedrup Dorji, will be coming to other dzongkhags.