Lone CT scan machine in JDWNRH breaks down…again

Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH) had fixed its only Computed Tomography (CT) scan machine in October 2020 with virtual help from experts in Singapore. After almost a year and half, the CT scan machine broke down on 2 May 2022.

Whenever the CT scan machine in JDWNRH ceases to function, it brings imaging required for diagnosis of diseases, staging or restaging of cancers, diagnostics biopsies and assessment and reassessment of the treatments to a grinding halt.

The Director of the JDWNRH said with no technicians to repair, the parts need to be bought from an outside country and it takes time. Each part of the CT scan costs millions. However, the parts of the CT scan have reached the country and it will be fixed soon.

A second new CT scan machine is seen as the only way forward to overcome all delays related to patient treatment. Therefore, a new CT scan needs to be in place at earliest so that there is no time lost when it comes to prompt imaging, diagnosis and treatment.

The current CT scan is four years old, and now the JDWNRH is planning to buy a new CT scan machine, provided the availability of the funds. The cost of the CT scan is Nu 100 million, said the Director.

The machine is used for scanning the brain, staging of cancers, chest, upper and lower abdomen, bone fractures, lung, kidney and trauma. Therefore, patients needing urgent CT scans are referred to Gelephu General Hospital and Mongar Hospital.

According to JDWNRH’s Annual Report 2021, absence of in-country expertise for repair and maintenance of high-end medical imaging equipment (CT/MRI) has always been the greatest challenge since installation of the only CT and MRI machines in JDWNRH in 2006.

The down time of these two machines on separate occasions coupled with the prevailing pandemic restrictions in 2021 have resulted in delays for timely intervention from skilled technical expatriates. This has not only led to delay in the delivery of appropriate and timely imaging services, but has also hampered early diagnosis and treatment.

Meanwhile, a total of 4,311 patients have undergone CT scan in 2021.

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