Remote parts of the country are quite familiar with sluggish healthcare facilities, especially for childbirths and pregnancies. However, the services are now expected to improve through the Health Ministry’s initiative – “Reaching every pregnant woman with quality gynaecological and obstetric services”. As part of the initiative, the district hospital in Gasa has started providing iCTG services to expectant mothers in the district.
Gasa hospital has begun giving iCTG services to pregnant women recently after its health professionals were trained to use to iCTG device. iCTG stands for Integral Cardiotocography, which is an internet-readied device of conventional cardiotocography.
It is used for monitoring fetal heart rate and uterine contraction of pregnant women and detecting high-risk pregnancies.
So, how effective is this heart-shaped device for remote places like Gasa, where there are no gynaecologists?
According to the health workers there, the iCTG device will be strapped around the woman’s stomach to monitor the fetal heart rate and uterine contraction of the expectant mother.
This status will be updated via the device to the consulting gynaecologist, who will advise further medical intervention if required.
Pregnant women like 32-year-old Tshewang Pem Tamang is overjoyed to learn that such services have arrived at their doorstep.
“When you are pregnant, you are often stressed wondering about the condition of the baby in the womb. But after knowing that the iCTG device is available from the hospital here in Gasa, I was over the moon. Now I don’t have to go to the bigger hospital, which is physically and mentally taxing,” said Tshewang Pem Tamang from Gasa, who is in the second trimester of her pregnancy.
Gasa Hospital is one of the 54 health facilities in the country to have received the iCTG device. These healthcare centres were selected based on their remote location and number of births.
Such health measures are towards providing specialised maternal and child healthcare services in every nook and corner of the country.
“We will be sending these iCTG machines to primary health centres based in rural places. Here in Gasa, we will be sending them to Lunana and Laya. For instance, if a pregnant woman is being screened using the device at Lunana primary health centre, her baby and her status will be known by the specialists at the National Referral Hospital in Thimphu,” said Health Minister Dechen Wangmo in an interview with BBS yesterday.
To familiarise iCTG services across the country, the health ministry also kick-started the awareness programme from Gasa yesterday.
“The health ministry is sensitising the public on how the iCTG device is being operated and what are its benefits for maternal and child wellbeing. Through such awareness programmes, we want to empower the people to seek such virtual medical services from the hospitals,” added Lyonpo Dechen Wangmo.
The ministry is expecting to distribute about 30 more sets of iCTG devices by the end of this year. The ministry is implementing the iCTG services in partnership with the UNDP Bhutan and JICA Bhutan offices.
Changa Dorji, Punakha
Edited by Pema Lhaden
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