The Rotary Club of Yala (Lalitpur district) today donated Real-Time PCR machine, equipment related to machine, and chemicals required to undergo COVID-19 tests worth Rs 8 million to the Nepal-Korea Friendship Municipality Hospital.

The Rotary Club of Yala, under the support of 'Rotary Fund - Global Grant Title: Providing PCR Machine to fight COVID-19', donated the valuable machinery to the hospital operated by Madhyapur-Thimi Municipality.

In its quest to alleviate the spread of coronavirus in Nepal, the rotary fund has been providing support to various countries.

Under this, a set of Real-Time PCR machine with 96-Well Cycler, a set of Automated Nucleic Acid Extraction system with 96 deep-well plates, 3,000 PCR detection kits and 2,560 DNA & RNA extraction kits were made available to the hospital today.

Authorities said these machines would yield the RT–PCR results within 20 minutes instead of four hours from the equipment available in the country.

Similarly, the hospital can now enhance its capacity to test more than 500-600 swabs in a day instead of 150-200 swabs using the existing machine. If run in full capacity, this machine can test upto 3,000 COVID samples in a day, says Dr Sumitra Manandhar, chair of Rotary Club of Yala.

The Nepal-Korea Friendship Municipality Hospital, is the second hospital that has operated the RT-PCR test in the country after the National Public Health Laboratory in Teku. Unlike other hospitals that charge high fees for testing COVID-19, this hospital has been charging Rs 1,000 per test. The hospital management said the price could be further revised following installation of the machines.

The hospital management claimed that the addition of advanced machines would enhance the hospital's molecular laboratory to a great extent and expand its COVID-19 testing in the communities.

Besides, a number of lab personnel and related health staff will be trained to operate and maintain the machines for sustainable operations as well as community surveillance.

During the handing over ceremony, Mayor of Madhyapur-Thimi Municipality Madan Sundar Shrestha said new technology would be used to serve the public.

A version of this article appears in the print on October 7, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.