Ministry of Health mobilizes staff for hospitals in epidemic areas

Nima | Gelephu

Although no positive cases in Sarpang have required medical attention and hospitalization so far, the Ministry of Health plans to mobilize health personnel.

Technical Advisory Group (TAG) officials at yesterday’s press conference said there were requests from hospitals across the country to mobilize health personnel.

TAG member Dr Tshokey said staff mobilization would be streamlined and sent to where it is really needed.

The Ministry of Health is working on it.

If hospitals face a shortage of doctors and nurses, staff would be mobilized to unaffected districts as was done during the lockdown in Samtse and Phuentsholing, according to the official.

“We have already started working on what is really needed. We have identified medical orderlies to descend. If things get worse, we will provide the necessary support, give the best everywhere,” the official said.

“We have also asked the Royal Civil Service Commission to release doctors in training at the Royal Institute of Management, given the current situation. They already have work experience,” Dr. Tshokey said.

Officials said the health workforce is limited in the country and it is unclear which district would be affected at this stage.

It was also pointed out that measures were in place to ensure that no hospitals were overwhelmed while following the approach of eliminating the virus in the country.

In the past five days, Gelephu and Sarpang have reported 138 cases, including 90 in the community and close contacts.

The isolation ward and three hotels now serve as isolation facilities in the dzongkhag.

The dzongkhag has reported nearly 10 cases a day for the past six days since the first community case on January 16. There are children and vulnerable people exposed to the virus in Sarpang.

Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering said no positive Gelephu cases needed medical attention and hospitalization so far. “Until formal admission to intensive care, all doctors can manage the cases. It would be nice to have a specialist, but most of the time GPs can handle it.

He added that there have been more than 3,000 positive cases in the country so far, and only the first index case required intensive care. There are mobile rescue teams from regional referral hospitals in Thimphu and Mongar.

“Even if not in number, in function we are ready,” said the prime minister.

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