Despite facilities 45% of mothers from Dzongkhags deliver in Thimphu leading to bed shortages

Over 2000 babies born in JDWNRH from other dzongkhags

Up to 45 percent of expectant mothers from other dzongkhags come to Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH) to deliver. Last year the total number of births recorded in JDWNRH was 5,081 out of which half of them were from other Dzongkhags.

Thimphu dzongkhag alone has 42 percent of the whole country’s birth which means over 2000 babies were born from Thimphu residents.

Medical Superintendent of JDWNRH, Dr Gosar Pemba said since the obstetric facilities is not there in some dzongkhags, JDWNRH has received maximum patients from Paro, Punakha, Wangdue, Haa and few from southern parts of Bhutan who come to delivery with complications with their pregnancies and even for normal deliveries.

With many expectant mothers coming to deliver in JDWNRH, the shortage of beds in birthing centers has been an issue, said Dr. Gosar.

He said after delivery, mothers should be in the hospital for at least 2 days but because of shortage of beds, mothers are discharged the next day after delivery.

Dr. Gosar said expectant mothers feel much safer here because JDWNRH has more Gynaecologists and doctors who are specialized. He also highlighted that another trend among younger generation is they want painless labour which is available in JDWNRH.

Although there are Gynaecologists in Phuentsholing and Samtse hospital and in fact almost all the facilities are provided there, JDWNRH still receives expectant mothers from these places for delivery.

He said actually only high risk pregnancies should be referred to JDWNRH. During Antenatal checkup in their respective dzongkhags if the expectant mothers have complications with their pregnancy, then they are sent here for Gynaecology consultation. Every year 12,000 babies are born throughout the country, to mothers’ aged between 14 years to 49 years old.

Meanwhile, Ugyen from Gomtu under Samtse dzongkhag who gave birth to her first child in Thimphu hospital said she came all the way from Gomtu to Thimphu for her delivery because she did not want to take risk by delivering in Gomtu hospital as she said all the experienced nurses have retired and she felt a bit pessimistic to deliver there.

She said there were many cases where the mothers had to be referred to Thimphu hospital because of complications and also some mothers even delivered on their way. “So similarly, if something happens than it will take time, so I thought it will be better if I deliver in the Thimphu hospital,” said Ugyen.

Another reason was that in Thimphu hospital they have enough specialists and gynaecologists, unlike in Gomtu.

However, she gave birth to her second child in Gomtu hospital and she said it was a good experience since it was much easier for her to deliver in Gomtu hospital than in Thimphu, because her entire family was with her during the delivery of her second child.

“I believe it is very important to have at least experienced doctors and nurses in gewog hospitals as well so that pregnant mothers do not have to travel long distances to deliver,” said Ugyen.

Another mother, Sonam Yangzom said Thimphu hospital is a big hospital as compared to the hospitals in other dzongkhags and with more facilities and specialists it assured them safety.

“We never know the complications we will have before delivery of our baby, so I feel it is better and safe to deliver in a bigger hospital,” said Sonam.

Similarly, many other expectant mothers shared their views that JDWNRH is much safer for them to deliver and they feel confident there because of the experienced doctors and specialists available in the hospital.

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