Govt. looking to acquire Covid-19 hospitals

Prime Minister and other cabinet ministers speak at the 46th meet-the-press held virtually on 7 May

LHAKPA TSHERING | Thimphu

The government acquired Taba Covid-19 hospital in Thimphu and is also in talk for the acquisition of other three structures to use as regular hospitals and educational institutions.

They include Kelki High School in Kanglung, Trashigang, Nima High school in Thimphu, and Wangsha School at Phaduna in Punakha.

Prime Minister Dasho Dr. Lotay Tshering at the meet-the-press said that the Taba Covid-19 Hospital will be established as a 60 to 65 bedded multidisciplinary hospital. “The land ownership (thram) has been transferred to the Ministry of Health,” he said.

Lyonchhen said there are two buildings of which one is still occupied while another was empty after the Jigme Singye Wangchuck School of Law moved its campus to Paro.

He said that the property was on sale and the government felt the need. “His Majesty, while visiting the Covid-19 hospital, was impressed with the structure and said it looks even better than a regular hospital. We receive the Royal command, on the next day, if that is of any use,” he said.

“The building is equipped with a lift, false ceiling, and air conditioning systems which are not very common to see in the private building,” he said, adding that the building has the formal setup of the hospital.

As a Covid-19 hospital, Lyonchhen said, the government invested a huge amount to install Covid ICU, dialysis, and formal operating theater where major surgical operations can be done as Covid patients are associated with these diseases.

In addition, Lyonchhen said that the government is also in talks with the poverty owners of the other three structures that are on sale. However, he said, the government would acquire if the rate is reasonable and the acquisition is not yet confirmed.

Lyonchhen said, in fact, that Nima High School would be perfect because it is an institution. “The Royal Academy of Performing Arts (RAPA) is up-scaling to a formal institutionalization. Although this is not in our pledges, we have pressure from them ‌they are bound to provide degree,” he said.

Meanwhile, Lyonchhen informed the Cluster Hospital Initiative. Each cluster has the full suite of healthcare services equipped with four specialists – medical, child, general surgeon, and gynecologist – with endoscopy services.

He said while specialist services in many cluster hospitals have started, Lyonchhen said, Bumthang and Tsirang will start soon and it is also ready for Paro. “We have designed 10 cluster hospitals in the country,” he said.

“We only need to establish a new structure for Nganglam but the old Pema Gatshel Hospital can also accumulate the services. Except for the construction, everything has been completed for Nganglam,” he said.