The controversial 40-bed hospital in Tsirang, which was inaugurated before its construction was completed, is now equipped to provide improved services related to emergency, laboratory facilities, and other facilities related to oxygen supply.

Dendup, a resident at Tsirang, came along with his wife and child for a check-up at the new hospital recently. “The hospital is spacious compared to the old one.”

He said that with improved facilities in place, people need not travel either to Gelephu or Thimphu now.

The hospital, however, is in need of human resources to provide all required services to the people.

Tsirang’s dzongkhag health officer, Kinley, said there are about 70 staff at the hospital today and the health ministry has already proposed the Royal Civil Service Commission(RCSC) for about 130 additional staff. “The commission has yet to endorse the proposal,” he said.

He said the hospital also required additional support staff.

However, he said that it would take few more years for the hospital to have specialists. “It was learnt that there was a shortage of specialists across the country. We, otherwise, need about six specialists for the new hospital.”

The dzongkhag health officer said service delivery had improved because of the availability of equipment and facilities.

“After the hospital receives the required staff, the hospital would provide services of a trauma centre (where patients suffering from traumatic injuries such as accidents would be treated), and the emergency obstetric care (EmOC), which focuses on mother and child health.”

With the hospital being handed over to the dzongkhag last month, the shifting works began by January 15 according to the health officials.

Almost all medical services and facilities have shifted to the new hospital, he said. “Since the hospital is situated between Thimphu and Gelephu where referral hospitals are, Tsirang hospital would be a place where patients could halt for oxygen supply or other medication during an emergency.”

He said the old Out Patient Department (OPD) would undergo major renovation and maintenance works are expected to complete by June 2020. “The new structure would infuse Bhutanese architectural designs. The OPD would house an altar room.”

After the renovation of the Maternal and Child Health (MCH) section in the old hospital, a special unit would be dedicated to traditional medical services. Tuberculosis (TB) unit would also be established at the old block.

If more space is required for the storeroom, the old hospital would be used, Kinley said. “The ward and drug store would be dismantled and parking space developed. A recreational space would also be created for people to hang out.”

The hospital was constructed at a cost of Nu 218 million under the project tied assistance programme.

Rinchen Zangmo  | Tsirang