…  impacts patients, attendants and health officials

Nima Wangdi 

Without water in the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH) since April 30, the national referral hospital had to suspend its laboratory service as machines cannot operate without running water.

Patients, attendants, and health workers had to buy bottled water even for washing purposes.

Sources from the hospital said toilets were filled with faeces.

A patient attendant said that none of the toilets in the hospital is clean. “The hospital stinks. It is difficult for patients and attendants.”

Officiating medical superintendent of JDWNRH, Dr Pem Chuki said the problem has hampered laboratory tests at the hospital for now.

Hospital officials were asked not to take and send blood samples until the restoration of the water supply.

Officials said that they were told that the water supply would be restored today but they are doubtful about it. The hospital doesn’t have an alternative source.

“We are talking about super speciality hospital when we do not have basic services in the hospital,” a health official said. “Everyone in the hospital is suffering because of the water problem.”

It was learnt the water problem was caused after the main water supply from Dodeyna burst.

Thromde officials said the problem arose due to multiple breakages along the Dodeyna’s main water line as well as Simtokha main water line.

An official said that the thromde is not sure when the water could be restored.

Hospital officials claimed thromde has supplied water to the hospital yesterday afternoon with 2 tankers to supplement the water supply to the kitchen and public toilets on the ground floors.

Meanwhile, sources said the hospital had been grappling with a water shortage a few years ago and many bilateral meetings and official correspondence were done with Thimphu thromde to resolve it.

“JDWNRH has an approved budget in the 12th Plan for construction of a dedicated water supply line but it was used for the construction of an ultrafiltration system after thromde assured uninterrupted water supply to the hospital upon completion of Dodeyna water source project,” an official said. “To further ensure backup supply during the unforeseen circumstances, JDWNRH had invested Nu. 500,000 to Thimphu thromde for the borehole (river) project.”

Officials said constant monitoring and follow up with the thromde officials are being carried out to expedite the process.