Physiotherapy and ENT camp for Zhemgang’s unreached population

While some disabilities can be lifelong and without a cure, some are treatable and can be prevented from turning into more severe conditions. However, in many rural areas, due to a lack of awareness and access to facilities, many persons with disabilities are left without treatment. To reach out to such people, a group of health professionals from Gelephu Regional Referral Hospital and Ability Bhutan Society has treated about 148 people with various forms of physical disabilities in Zhemgang as part of a Physiotherapy and ENT camp.

44-year-old Padam Lal from Tingtibi is one of the beneficiaries of the Physiotherapy and ENT camp in Zhemgang. He had a hearing impairment since childhood but had never been to health centers for help. Padam Lal says his condition could have been long treated had he been aware that it could be cured with medical intervention.

“Before, I was not aware of it and could not go to Thimphu for treatment. After getting checked here, I can clearly hear with the help of the hearing aid, even the sounds that are not too loud,” said Padam Lal.

According to the officials, Zhemgang has the highest prevalence of disabilities in rural areas, and based on data from the Ability Bhutan Society’s survey, there are around 305 persons with disabilities in the district. Of them, 46 people need hearing aids and 15 require wheelchairs.

“I am very happy that this will be of great benefit for us because we cannot go to bigger health care centers. The professionals come here and treat us well,” said Tshering Wangchuk from Tshanglajong village in Zhemgang.

“I was suffering from a pain in the ear for a long time and couldn’t get it treated here as there aren’t ENT specialists. I could not go to bigger hospitals because of financial problems. So, if they refer me to bigger hospitals, I will go,” added Dawa Gyeltshen from Tingtibi.

Ability Bhutan Society provided wheelchairs, walking sticks, crutches, and walkers to a few individuals from humble backgrounds in rural areas in Zhemgang. The organization plans to provide to everyone in need after assessment.

“Our main aim is to reach the unreached, especially in Zhemgang because all the settlements are scattered. So, people, especially children with disabilities are facing difficulty in accessing medical care. And secondly, the programme is for early intervention and identification, which is the most important,” said Norbu Zangmo, the Project Coordinator.

“I am mainly concerned with persons living with physical disabilities and my friend’s audiologist is particularly concerned with hearing and speech impairment,” added Mono Tamang, Senior Physiotherapist with Gelephu Regional Referral Hospital.

The week-long medical camps for children and persons with disabilities in various Primary Health Centres and hospitals in Zhemgang were supported by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development.

Pema Samdrup, Zhemgang

Edited by Phub Gyem





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