The Minster for Health visited Paro Hospital on 4thJuly, 2019. This is her first official visit to the hospital. Lyonpo was received by the Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Health Officer, Dungtsho, Asst. Health Officer and Administrative Officer on behalf of the Hospital staff, and on behalf of Dzongkhag Administration, the Dzongkhag HR Officer and ICT Officer received Lyonpo.
Lyonpo visited the wards, the laboratories and the pharmacy before meeting the staff in the Hospital conference room. Doctors, nurses and lab technicians were present for the meeting.
The CMO welcomed Lyonpo and expressed gratitude on behalf of all staff for choosing to visit Paro Hospital despite her busy schedule. He also offered Tashi Delek to Lyonpo on her appointment as the first female Health Minister and the DNT government for winning the 3rd Parliamentary Elections in 2018. In line with that, CMO and 4 other hospital staff offered Tashi Khadhar to Lyonpo on behalf of all staff.
The CMO presented a brief information on the current status of staff strength, OPD record, medicine stock, etc., in the Hospital. Currently, the Hospital has a staff strength of 111 and it is a 40-bedded Hospital with a bed occupancy rate of 60.74 %, he added. He said the Hospital has recorded 1, 27,000 OPD cases in 2018, and added Paro Hospital see a huge number of OPD cases, and is the 3rd highest in the Nation.
In addition, the Health Officer also provided a brief district profile. She said, Paro Dzongkhag has 2 Grade II BHUs; one at Dawakha and one at Drugyel, 1 subpost at Gunitsawa and 2 Health Units; one in Pangbisa and one at Paro International Airport. She said the prevalence of NCDs (diabetes, hypertension, and alcoholic liver diseases) are on the rise, also, HIV and TB cases. She said the Hospital is witnessing a rise in accident and suicide cases too.
Lyonpo also addressed her concerns on the shortage of Medical Specialists in the country. She said that the Health Work Force is one of the most important and crucial aspects of a developing nation. She added since Bhutan provides free medical services to its citizens, a best healthcare system should be in place to offer a comprehensive healthcare package. She shared that most Bhutanese people don’t bother to do monthly health check-ups and hence land up coming to the Hospital only when very sick to avail curative treatments. Bhutanese in general lack prevention methods she said. Healthy citizens means a happy developed Nation, and hence she urged the health workers to really go beyond to provide health care services to the people. Realizing the importance of health care workers, the present government made them the highest paid next to teachers, Lyonpo added. She said now more than ever the health workers should be proactive, innovative and walk the extra mile in creating a comprehensive health care system in Bhutan.
The government on their part will always backup and look after the health work force she added. She said health staff have to keep advancing in their careers, get specialization in respective fields so that in future Bhutan need not bring in Specialists from other countries incurring huge expenses. I am looking forward to having dialogues with the newly appointed RCSC commissioners with regard to the Professional Development opportunities for the heath work force Lyonpo stated.
In the way forward, the Health Officer mentioned development of two upcoming BHUs; one BHU I in Pangbisa and one BHU II in between Doteng and Dopshari Gewogs, for the FY 19-20 of the 12 FYP.
In the vote of thanks, the Dungtsho reiterated the gratitude to Lyonpo for coming to Paro Hospital despite her busy schedule. The health work force already feel taken care of with the recent pay raise and the opportunities that would be provided for career advancement which clearly shows the concerns and trust the government have in the health work force, he said. On our part, we will keep in mind the insights shared at all times, and we pledge to work better than ever before to provide the best health care to the people of Bhutan, he added.