The construction of the once highly acclaimed and anticipated ‘ultramodern hospital’ in Wangduephodrang finally reached completion and is ready to be handed over to the government by the management of Punatshangchhu hydro project.
The official handing-taking over ceremony of the hospital is expected to be take place early next year.
The project has been funded by Punatsangchhu Hydroelectric Project Authority I and II. “The tentative total cost incurred shall be in order of Nu 650mn which includes hospital building, residential complex, water supply, sewerage and drainage system, water treatment plant, sewerage treatment plant, children’s park, vehicle parking area, construction of roads and other required protection works,” said Naveen Chander Bansal, Managing Director of PHPA I.
The 40 bedded hospital is located on a hill in Jatshokha village under Rinchengang which is several kilometers away from Bajo town.
The hospital missed series of deadlines for three consecutive years. The managing director, Naveen Chander Bansal said that the yearly delays in the completion of hospital are attributed to the reasons such as delay in timely approval to get required clearances from various agencies necessary to start the work. “In addition to this, the hospital is located on a very steep area that needed major excavation to accommodate four different benches for the entire building. Moreover, there were two high tension lines passing through the hospital area and accordingly, the entire line had to be re-routed before starting any works from the safety point of view,” said Naveen Chander Bansal.
However, according to a source, the initial design of the hospital was done by WAPCOS and it was then handed over to the Ministry of Health for further modification to suit the Bhutanese architectural and other structural designs.
“There have been numerous joint visits by various expertises and a new adjustment was recommended to the structure each time they found some flaws with the design which further pushed the completion dates. The design which MoH provided was an old model and required several alteration to align with modern architectural designs. Some of the engineers had to visit hospitals in Thimphu and Gelephu to study the latest design and implement it accordingly,” said an official.
Although the project management labeled the structure an ultra modern hospital way before the construction started, health officials said that the hospital does not qualify to be referred one given the structure or services the hospital is expected to provide. “The hospital might institute slightly better facilities than regular district hospitals but it doesn’t feel right to be labeling it an ultramodern hospital,” said one of the health officials.
Dorji Tshering, the Medical Officer Incharge at Bajo hospital said that since the health ministry has plans to set up a trauma centers in the health centers located strategically located along the health centers, the newly constructed hospital is also expected to house a trauma center.
Dorji Tshering said that there will be a separate blood bank facility, Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) facility, central gas system with connections from the basement which will with connected to all the ICUs without the need for cylinders, surgical facilities, echocardiogram, Emergency Obstetric Care, and provide other advanced diagnosis system among others.
The hospital is also expected to cater to patients from nearby dzongkhags such as Gasa, Tsirang and Punakha. With no gynecologist at present in the dzongkhag, one gynecologist and a surgical specialist will also be arranged in the new hospital.
The project is being jointly financed by the Government of India and the Government of Bhutan with 40% grant from the former and rest 60% is on loan by the RGoB.