Realizing the potential to achieve improved gains in health service delivery, the Ministry of Health (MoH) transferred the management and administration of the newly expanded 40-bed Dewathang hospital in Samdrup Jongkhar under jurisdiction of the Royal Bhutan Army (RBA).
To hand over the entire health infrastructure and continue the existing corporation between the two parties, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between MoH and RBA headquarter on 21 October in Thimphu.
Considering its strategic location and the huge potential to enhance health services – both quality and access – and optimal utilization of resources, the hospital will function as a referral center for Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care (EmONC), trauma center, and essential surgical center.
The RBA will deploy all required staff including specialists based on availability – presently staffed with health professionals deployed from both MoH and RBA – while continuing mixed functioning modality of manpower at the hospital.
While the army administration will carry out the minor maintenance of hospital and medical equipment, the health ministry will undertake the major maintenance works.
Further, to discuss the issues, challenges and way forward of the hospital functioning, the army administration requires quarterly review meetings with the ministry.
Besides providing routine health services to the general population, the hospital will provide referral services for residents of Samdrup Jongkhar and nearby dzongkhags.
The mutual agreement also mandates the army administration to provide a routine report as per the health management information system (HMIS) to the health ministry as and when required.
The health ministry will retain all existing clinical and support staff with army administration on interim transfer with RBA.
The ministry will also execute all human resource actions – recruitment, transfer, promotion, training, performance – as per the Bhutan Civil Service Rules and Regulation (BCSR) 2018 for the civil health workers retained with RBA.
In addition, it will continue to collaborate with RBA in providing other human resources required for the functional and operational management of the hospital as per the human resource standard, and provide support in maintenance of medical equipment until RBA develops their own capacity – biomedical engineers.
Besides, the ministry will facilitate conducting specialized medical camps in the hospital and other neighboring dzongkhags as per the plans of the health ministry.
The health ministry has undertaken the reconstruction of the Dewathang hospital with expanded facilities to 40-bed. It is staffed with some 200 people – management, clinical, nursing, traditional medicine, and support staff providing about 50 different services including specialist and traditional medicine services.