Nepal | January 16, 2021

Govt to let pvt labs conduct PCR tests

RAM KUMAR KAMAT
Share Now:

The government will provide swab samples to private labs and pay Rs 5,500 per test.

The move is in line with the government’s decision to conduct at least 10,000 tests a day from June 29.

KATHMANDU, JUNE 14

The Ministry of Health and Population today announced that it would allow private laboratories to conduct polymerase chain reaction tests to diagnose coronavirus patients.

The ministry’s move comes in the wake of criticism for failing to ramp up PCR tests.

Since the past few days, people have taken to the streets in cities across Nepal, including the capital city, demanding that the government ramp up PCR tests.

Spokesperson for the Ministry of Health and Population Jageshwor Gautam today said the ministry would let private laboratories test swab samples for COVID-19. He added that the government would bear the cost of tests done at private laboratories.

Khem Bahadur Karki, adviser to Minister of Health and Population Bhanu Bhakta Dhakal, told THT that the government would provide swab samples to private laboratories and pay Rs 5,500 per test. He said the decision to allow private laboratories to conduct PCR tests was in line with the government’s decision to conduct at least 10,000 tests a day from June 29.

Karki added that Minister Dhakal had planned to conduct 10,000 PCR tests a day from June 29, but the government might meet that target even before that.

Karki added that the government was also trying to add PCR machines in Butwal (Province 5), Pokhara (Gandaki Province), Sudurpaschim Province and Karnali Province. He added that the government would soon make provisions for automated extraction of swab samples. He said the government wanted to procure seven more PCR machines — one for each province.

He said the government would give permission to private laboratories to conduct PCR tests only after assessing the capacity of laboratories in terms of human resources and bio-safety level.

Baburam Marasini, former Director of the Epidemiology and Disease Control Division, said the government’s decision to allow private laboratories to conduct PCR tests was a step in the right direction.

“Nowadays, patients are being told to undergo COVID-19 tests before certain medical procedures.

If a woman with labour pain is not tested immediately for COVID-19, then her right to seek health service might be affected,” Marasini added. With more labs equipped with testing infrastructure that problem is likely to be overcome.

He said the plan was to have at least 10 more laboratories mostly in Kathmandu valley – that could conduct PCR tests.

Marasini added that on an average one private lab could conduct 400-500 PCR tests in a day, but if machines were run round the clock and staff worked in shifts they could conduct more than 500 tests in one day. Marasini said there was urgent need to ramp up PCR tests as the number of COVID-positive cases were rising sharply. “For people living in remote areas such as Baitadi, Achham and Dailekh, the government needs to conduct PCR tests in those areas because it would be tough to transport swabs from those districts to Kathmandu or other cities,” he added.

Assistant Spokesperson for the Ministry of Health and Population Samir Kumar Adhikari said the government had earlier designated 16 private hospitals, including a dozen private hospitals in Kathmandu valley, as COVID hospitals where corona patients could undergo treatment.

“However, the number of COVID-19 patients is very low in Kathmandu and at present beds available in government hospitals are enough for COVID-19 patients,” he said.

Adhikari said people would not have to pay even if they underwent treatment in private designated hospitals.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on June 15, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.

READ ALSO:


Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

First Arab Ama Dablam Expedition makes successful attempt on Thursday

KATHMANDU: A team from Seven Summit Treks ‘First Arab Ama Dablam Expedition’ comprising Qatari climber Fahad Badar, Sherief Elabd from Eygpt and Nadhira Al Harthy from Oman have attempted Mt Ama Dablam (6812 m) on January 14. The winter ascent to Ama dablam consisted of at least 14 climbers w Read More...

Biden unveils $1.9T plan to stem COVID-19 and steady economy

WILMINGTON, DELAWARE: President-elect Joe Biden unveiled a $1.9 trillion coronavirus plan Thursday to end “a crisis of deep human suffering” by speeding up vaccines and pumping out financial help to those struggling with the pandemic’s prolonged economic fallout. Called the “American Read More...

Rival NCP factions hold standing committee meetings

KATHMANDU, JANUARY 14 Nepal Communist Party (NCP) led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Madhav Kumar Nepal held its Standing Committee meeting and discussed ways to effectively carry out its protest programme against dissolution of the House of Representatives. NCP (Dahal-Nepal) Spokesperson Naryan Ka Read More...

Security personnel of Khotang District Police Office destroy cannabis planted illegally by the locals in Durchim VDC of Khotang district on Monday, December 21, 2015. Photo: RSS

Cops intensify drive to destroy cannabis, opium plants

KATHMANDU, JANUARY 14 Nepal Police destroyed cannabis and opium plants cultivated in a large swathe of land across the country in the fiscal year 2019-20, according to an annual report recently released by the Ministry of Home Affairs. According to the report, cannabis plants being cultivated Read More...

WHO supports member countries to end COVID-19 pandemic

KATHMANDU, JANUARY 14 Member countries in the World Health Organisation South-East Asia Region are gearing up for massive vaccination campaigns in a bid to end the COVID-19 pandemic. The WHO South-East Asia Region has 11 member countries — Bangladesh, Bhutan, Democratic People’s Republic o Read More...

Bhattarai calls for decisive agitation

DAMAULI, JANUARY 14 Janata Samaj Party-Nepal Federal Council Chairperson Baburam Bhattarai has stressed the need of a decisive struggle to protect democracy and the constitution. Accusing Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli of putting the constitution and democracy at risk by dissolving the Parliamen Read More...

Locals protest East-West Railway survey

BARA, JANUARY 14 The locals have protested a survey of the East-West Railway in Bara. The locals were up in arms after a survey was done affecting the main settlement in the bazaar area of Nijgadh Municipality. According to the survey team Incharge Suraj Poudel, the locals impeded the d Read More...

‘Tharu community in peril due to dowry’

BARA, JANUARY 14 Cultural bad practice in society has become a headache in Bara. Deputy Mayor Sunaina Devi Tharuni of Kolhabi Municipality in Bara said the Tharu community had been backward due to their luxurious lifestyle and dowry system. Tharuni addressed a programme organised by Tharu J Read More...