Preparation works begin for new 50-bed Thimphu General Hospital

1.6-acres of land at Lower Taba has been identified for the new hospital construction

The govt. has identified 1.6-acres of land at Lower Taba for the new hospital construction

Lhakpa Tshering

Exciting progress continues to build around the much-anticipated new 50-bedded Thimphu General Hospital with architectural drawings, designs, and built methods following intensive preparation of project cost estimation underway.

The government has identified 1.6-acres of land at Lower Taba for the construction of a new hospital funded under the Government of India’s Project Tied Assistance (GoI-PTA). The project is estimated to cost Nu 750-million and is expected to be commenced by 2023.

Health minister Dasho Dechen Wangmo said they are working on the preparation of cost estimation of the project and other final integrities. “We are all busy. We are doing the drawings and everything,” she said.

Initially, the government had planned to construct a 20-bedded hospital at Dechencholing. But it later changed the plan to construct a 100-bedded hospital at Taba where it was recommended to reduce to a 50-bedded hospital.

This, according to Lyonpo, was considering the population within the catchment area of health services. 

“The new hospital will serve the catchment areas of Taba, Babena, Hejo, Pamtsho, Dechencholing, and Kawang Gewog,” she said, adding that a lot of cases will be also taken by the satellite clinics (thromde health centers) currently under construction.

Lyonpo says this will narrow the gap in accessing health services. “This is also very much in line with this government’s commitment to bring services to your doorsteps,” she said. “We need to make services available to the people.”

Further, she said this will ease the patient load at the national referral hospital. “Having this hospital will provide a lot of services and ease the pressure. Instead of going to the national referral hospital and waiting for four hours, patients can get services in two hours or fewer for that matter,” Lyonpo added.

As the multi-disciplinary super-specialty hospital (MDSSH) will be constructed at the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital’s (JDWNRH) campus, Lyonpo said, Taba hospital will focus on patients requiring secondary level healthcare.

“General patients who want to see a medical specialist, a child specialist, a surgeon, and a minor surgeon will go to Thimphu hospital,” she added. “Eventually, the national referral hospital will see only tertiary level care such as cancer patients, and transplants.”

With the largest population in the country, Lyonpo said, the capital has the majority numbers of people in any of the districts and they deserve it. “They deserve good quality health care services.” 

Lyonpo said it also prepares for systems in place in case the health system of the national referral hospital is compromised because of a similar pandemic in the future. “We realized during the current pandemic that we must not mix people,” she added.

In addition, she said the satellite clinics will provide medical services including x-ray, ultrasound, and medicines, among others. “It will be very different from our usual primary health care centers,” she said.

“For example, if you have a dog bite right now, you have to go to the national referral hospital. So now you are not even going to Taba hospital, you will go to the satellite clinics,” she said. 

Having these satellite clinics and hospitals, Lyonpo said, will ease out the outpatients and inpatient services in the JDWNRH.

Meanwhile, the government is also working on the up-gradation of Nganglam Hospital, Drujaygang BHU in Dagana and Nagor BHU in Mongar.