Citizens allege shortage of COVID-19 testing kits in PHCs

A BBMP health worker collecting swab samples for COVID-19 tests in Bengaluru on Monday.   | Photo Credit: MURALI KUMAR K.

With the spike in the number of COVID-19 cases in Karnataka, the State government has decided to ramp up testing. But a few citizens who went to get tested at Primary Health Centres [PHCs] in Bengaluru alleged that the centres had run out of testing kits.

A 34-year-old man, who went to get tested in Rajarajeshwarinagar zone, said, “I developed fever and wanted to get tested for COVID-19 so that I do not spread the infection to others in my house. I went to three PHCs in our zone. The first two said they had no testing kit. I got a test done in the third centre and the result was positive. I could have avoided the trouble of running around and coming in contact with other people if I could have given my swab for testing at the first PHC,” he said.

Sridhar S., who wanted to get a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) at a PHC in Malleswaram, was told he could get only an RT PCR test. The staff pointed out that the RAT was only for emergency cases and for patients who had Influenza-like Symptoms or Severe Acute Respiratory Infection [SARI].

However, Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) officials ruled out any shortage and said that they have stock of over 2 lakh testing kits. Rajendra Cholan P., Special Commissioner (Health), BBMP said that they have been conducting 67,000 tests every day over the last two weeks and denied any shortage.

Doctors and nurses working in government-run healthcare establishments said while there may not be a shortage in the city, the distribution is a matter of concern.

“Many PHCs have started mobile testing centres. When our teams head out to apartment complexes and markets, we do not have staff or kits at the hospital and are unable to take swabs for testing of people who walk in,” said a doctor who works in a PHC in south Bengaluru.

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Printable version | May 8, 2021 2:09:23 AM |

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