The health minister, Lyonpo Dechen Wangmo, during the Friday media meet announced that the first concept for the construction of tertiary hospital has been finalized and further progress will be carried out in planned phases.
“It will be an impossible task to approach the construction of the tertiary hospital at a go. So, now that we have the concept on how to go about with the construction of the hospital, we will carry out phase-wise planning and progress accordingly. Regarding the site, although we are still exploring, we are for now considering education city at Wang Sisina as the location for the construction of the tertiary health care center,” informed the minister.
However, the minister said that many factors need to be considered before finalizing the site such as availability of water, roads, electricity among others. “There is no doubt and question that as a nation we need a tertiary health care center, so we are trying to iron out various aspects of the construction of such hospital at this point of time. In the concept note, we have made it clear on what is needed to be incorporated in each phase and the kinds of services to be included.”
Lyonpo Dechen Wangmo said that the concept note was prepared based on thorough research and studied the type of service referred outside and the top diseases plaguing the country. That is how we are going to plan and prioritize our services, the health minister said.
“We only have the concept ready right now and just the infrastructural development of one such hospital can cause the government up Nu 3 bn and can eventually hit Nu 7 bn after procurement of the machines to deliver the expected service,” said Lyonpo.
The total budget allocation for the health sector for five years is Nu 3.5 bn, which the health minister said the construction of a tertiary health care is above and beyond their allocation. “The government has a huge responsibility to mobilize the available resources judiciously. We are working day and night to explore various sources of resources. This is one of the biggest challenges that I’m very passionate to pursue and I’m confident that the government of the day will be able to fulfill our mandate.”
In regard to the emergency ward bed shortages faced at Jigme Dorji Wangchuk National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH), the health minister said that it is important to understand why there is a shortage in the first place.
“JDWNRH is wearing multiple hats- it functions as a district hospital, Regional Referral Center Hospital for Western Bhutan, and teaching hospital as well. And we all know that the three-tier arch system is not working unlike in foreign countries. But if we look at JDWNRH, we are seeing everything from diarrhea and immunization cases to even the most complicated diseases that need immediate attention,” said Lyonpo.
She said that the shortages of the beds can be addressed easily but that is not what the government plans to achieve.
“We really want to change the system to ensure systematic flow so that people who avail the services get appropriate and efficient services. Currently, we are looking at how JDWNRH can deliver the services efficiently.”
The health minister also said two task teams have been formed to look at tertiary health care and the another to explore ways to increase JDWNRH’s efficiency.
The Minister said that it is exploring funding for the Nu 7 bn hospital. India’s previous commitment to build a cancer hospital will be part of this multi specialty hospital.