A couple from Lajab gewog in Dagana lost their six-weeks-old baby on August 26 while waiting for an ambulance to take her to Damphu hospital.
Lajab basic health unit’s (BHU) health assistant (HA), Rinchen Dendup, said the baby was brought to the BHU around 10:30am from Balung, which is about three hours walk from BHU, unconscious.
“The baby suffered from central cyanosis. Lips and face were bluish and the baby had shortness of breath, lethargy and diarrhoea,” the HA said.
He said after examination, they provided oxygen after which the baby regained little consciousness and was breastfed for a while.
According to HA, he tried contacting a doctor in Tsirang for consultation at 11:45am, as the baby was in critical condition but the phone was switched off.
He then tried to arrange an ambulance from Drujeygang but the service wasn’t available. “I talked to the ambulance driver but was told that the ambulance had no fuel.”
The health officials arranged an ambulance from Tsirang, which was sent at 3pm.
“We tried everything possible. Lajab is a remote village and there are not many vehicles,” HA Rinchen Dendup said.
It was learnt that when the baby died, the ambulance only reached Kompa, which is about 23kms away from the Lajab gewog.Lajab gewog is about 132 kms away from Dagana administration.
Dzongkhag’s health officer, Dorji Wangchuk, said that when the Electronic Public Expenditure Management system (EPEMs) was initiated, it took time to get budget. “After a month’s budget was released, the money was spent on credit for the month of July which exhausted more than half the money.”
The deceased’s grandfather, Gyemba, said it is sad they lost a precious life because of the lack of basic necessity like ambulance service. “Even when our baby died, the ambulance didn’t reach here. We would have been at peace knowing that at least this service was provided.”
He said that elsewhere people were even flown.
Meanwhile, a Facebook post written by the father went viral yesterday and many people questioned the lack of fuel during emergencies.
Rinchen Zangmo | Dagana