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Thimphu Thromde provides free city bus service to kidney patients

Kidney patients undergoing dialysis treatment in the capital often struggle to receive the treatment on time due to transportation issues. The challenge is more common among those belonging to economically disadvantaged families. To ease this problem, the Thimphu Thromde is providing city bus services free of cost to some of the kidney patients and their caregivers. Currently, there are over 180 kidney patients receiving dialysis treatment from the two dialysis centres in Thimphu.

Karma Yangzom is one of the kidney patients receiving dialysis treatment in the capital.

Karma, like most other patients who have received the service, is unemployed as her health condition does not allow her to do physically demanding work.

As a result, she struggles financially. A mother of one, Karma currently lives in Olakha. She has been undergoing dialysis treatment for the past 13 years.

“Before, when we did not have a bus card, we struggled to pay taxi fare. Even though it is costly, we sometimes travel by taxi, which costs around Nu 160. If we do not attend timely dialysis treatment there will be health implications such as suffocation, swelling, and losing appetite, so I try to go on time,” said Karma Yangzom, a kidney patient.

Eight kidney patients and two caregivers have been provided with free city bus cards. They were selected after assessing their financial situation.

The service started in June of this year.

Karma Choden from Monggar is another beneficiary. The mother of two has been receiving dialysis treatment for five years now.

Karma says she has been searching for a kidney donor for a transplant. Until a donor comes forward, she will have to continue with the dialysis treatment.

“We do face challenges. There are times we travel by taxi and the fare is high. Taxi drivers charge us around Nu 200 from Babesa to the hospital. And I cannot work to earn any income due to my health condition.”

The patients have to get dialysis treatment twice a week and each session takes up to four hours.

“Bhutan Kidney Foundation also does not have an adequate number of vehicles to support all the patients. So, following a request from their office, we are giving them free service. This would benefit them immensely as they will not have to spend on logistics and the government too will not have to spend on providing transport for these patients. The buses are already on the road, so by availing these services there will be fewer vehicles on the road,” said Pasang Tshering, Officiating Director of the City Bus Service.

Thimphu Thromde has plans to provide the service to other kidney patients facing extreme financial issues.

At the moment, eight patients residing in Taba, Ngabiphu, Chang Jiji, Zilukha, Olakha, and Babesa are using the free service.

Tshering Deki 

Edited by Phub Gyem