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Fight against Covid-19

Backlog in report delivery makes situation worse

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22nd-Jun-2020       
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Reza Mahmud :
When some health experts are suspecting that the coronavirus infection approaches peak in Bangladesh, shortage of kits, manpower and huge backlog in testing and report delivering have made the pandemic situation apparently grave.
Public Health experts said when the whole nation is fighting to restrain coronavirus spending huge amount of money, at that time the shortage of testing kits is totally unacceptable.
According to patients, concerned officials and public health experts huge samples are kept without test everyday in most of the government authorised laboratories across the country.
Besides, providing test reports of Covid-19 are also delaying for an unusual period which is making the situation more dangerous.
As a result a number of unaware but infected people who are not tested or getting report yet are also becoming tools of spreading the disease.
Civil Surgeons of different districts have said that the kits and manpower shortages are behind the failure to provide tests and reports in time.
Public health experts expressed their anxiety saying that shortage of kits along with lack of test facilities and report delivering failures are making the situation more and more hazardous.
"One of my village neighbours who is also a nurse of Dhaka hospital has given sample for coronavirus infection test on June 10, but he has not got the test report till June 21.
"That means providing the report is taking more than 10 days time at least," Professor Dr. Nazrul Islam, former Vice-Chancellor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) told The New Nation on Sunday.  Professor Dr. Nazrul Islam, also Member of the National Technical Advisory Committee of Covid-19, said the committee has information that many laboratories have not sufficient manpower even kits which is unbelievable.
"We learnt that there are no sufficient kits in Narayangonj to provide test of suspected people there. Is it believable? But it is true!"
He said, Narayangonj is a hotspot of coronavirus outbreak adjacent to Dhaka. The concerned offices should arrange everything needed to fight against the spread of dangerous virus in Narayangonj, but we heard that there is not adequate number of coronavirus testing kits.
"It is not acceptable by any means. It is nothing but a crime," Professor Nazrul Islam said.
Professor Nazrul Islam, however, asked the people who are waiting for test or reports to stay at home and not to go outside without wearing face masks.
"It is their responsibility to not spread the virus going outside freely without wearing face masks," he said.
Civil Surgeon of Narayangonj district, Dr.Md.Ahsanul Haque, did not receive phone call while trying to get his comment in this regard repeatedly.
Patients and suspected people from Chattogram also alleged that they are suffering from getting a chance to test samples.
Besides who got the chance to give samples are waiting for long to get test reports.
They said, many of them even got reports after waiting for 14 days.
When contacted, Dr. Sheikh Fazle Rabbi, Civil Surgeon of Chattogram, told The New Nation on Sunday, "There are total five authorised laboratories here. Most of the laboratories are trying to test the collected samples within one day and providing reports within two to three days. But Chattogram Medical College Hospital (CMCH) needs few more extra days to provide reports as there is heavy pressure of huge number of samples.
Dr. Fazle Rabbi refused the people's accusation of keeping about 8oo to 1000 samples everyday for testing next day.
He said, "When our laboratories collect 1200 samples, they tested about 800 everyday. Rest, 400 are usually being kept for testing next day."
Behind the reason of failure to test all samples, he said there are shortages of sufficient kits and adequate manpower in laboratories.
"In case of CMCH, they need more kits because there are enormous pressure of suspecting patients. Besides, our laboratories are suffering from adequate manpower as some of our staffers are infected from the virus and gone quarantines. We are waiting that the government would start processing to appoint more manpower," the Civil Surgeon said.
He said that they are trying to serve their best in this regard appointing voluntary workers there.
A sample collection booth in Paltan-Segunbaghicha area in Dhaka is on the edge of closure due to shortages of testing kits, the concerned officials said.
As a result the sample collection has shrunken in that booth now.
When contacted Dr. Ayesha Akther, Assistant Director, Health Emergency Operation Center and Control Room, Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) said the government is trying to expand testing facilities not to make those shrunken.
Professor Dr Nasima Sultana, Additional Director General (Administration) of DGHS was not available over phone when calling repeatedly to get her comment on Sunday afternoon.

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