The Outpatient Department in Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital will be closed until further notice. However, people are requested to call toll free number 112 for emergency cases and other toll free number 2121 and 6060 for enquiries.
When the government announced national lockdown on August 11, people were confused. Medical Superintendent of JDWNRH Dr Gosar Pemba said lockdown was sudden and JDWNRH could not sensitize public that they should visit their nearest clinics and BHUs in their locality. During the sudden lockdown people thought even satellite clinics in their locality are closed. They are open and fully functional. People should first contact the nearest clinic in their area and if the health staffs cannot treat them or if the case is complicated then they can send the patient to JDWNRH. They have a designated vehicle for the patients for pick up and drop.
He said on the day 1, there was some confusion and people panicked. Now the hospital has made numbers for each department. For example, pharmacy will look into the medicine part. Similarly one person is identified who will be picking and dropping patients for cancer, dialysis, radiotherapy, injection. The hospital will also put contact details of the doctors for evening shift.
He also said all the important medicines and injections are delivered to the satellite clinics in Thimphu Dzongkhag and in addition, four private pharmacies are open in Thimphu to deliver medicines like contraceptive pill, sinarest, paracetamol. So once all these plans go on smoothly then every day it will get better he assured.
More than 1,000 calls are received by JDWNRH and even the doctors were receiving about 150 to 200 calls in a day from the people enquiring what they should do since the people are not able to get the toll free line.
Dr Gosar said for minor cases people are calling 112 and those patients who are in emergency are not able to get the line. The hospital requested the public to call 112 only if it is an emergency case because the toll free number 112 is for ambulance service.
In the toll free number, the doctors will decide whether the patient has to visit hospital or not, and if it is an emergency and needs immediate attention than an ambulance will be sent to them.
Dr Gosar Pemba said the hospital is doing their best to provide all the health services during the lock down and the only thing is that the OPD is closed but all the health staffs including specialists are in the hospital. All the health staffs in the hospital are wearing protective health gear like face shield, gloves, mask and gowns. During lockdown there are referral cases from the nearby districts as well.
There are some issues like some patients need to continue their injection or some vaccines. For this matter, JDWNRH has already allocated vaccines, injections and medicines in all the satellite clinics. So this is how JDWNRH is managing all the cases.
The hospital has reduced the number of services and is expecting there will not be much challenge to handle or to provide health services during lockdown. Dr Gosar expects that if lockdown extends then people will also know that for minor case they don’t have to come to JDWNRH and that they can avail the health services in their nearest BHU or satellite clinics.
Meanwhile, health staffs will be coming to the hospital in a rooster system and if the lockdown is lifted then JDWNRH will continue to provide all the health services. Health services will be still be provided to all even if there is massive community transmission in the country.