Andhra Pradesh

Calls grow for more testing facilities in Vizianagaram

The absence of testing facilities in Vizianagaram is being acutely felt by residents, with many being forced to travel all the way to Visakhapatnam city to get tested for COVID-19.

Apart from travel costs, they are forced to spend ₹1,500 on the COVID-19 tests - which is the usual rate at most of the private diagnostic labs in Visakhapatnam.

Currently, the Maharaja Institute of Medical Sciences in Nellimarla has a laboratory for conducting Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (Rt-PCR) tests. Samples collected from suspected COVID-19 patients at various primary health centres (PHCs) are sent to MIMS for testing.

The samples collected at remote places like Gumma Lakshmipuram, Kurupam, Pachipenta and other places reach MIMS only the next day due to infrequent transportation facilities. Moreover, the samples are collected only till afternoon, after which patients are asked to come the next day to provide their samples in the respective PHCs. This is leading to inordinate delays in knowing the results of Rt-PCR tests.

Public holidays add to the delay, compounding the woes for the patients who are unsure whether or not to start taking medicines for COVID-19. According to official figures, 169 COVID-19 cases were recorded in Vizianagaram district on Monday, while 412 cases were recorded on Tuesday.

CPI(M) city secretary Reddi Sankara Rao alleged that the the government authorities were collecting only a few samples although there were thousands of patients experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. “Due to the lack of enough testing facilities, many patients are not getting themselves tested, and are unaware that they are COVID-19 positive. They are not isolating themselves at home, which is the reason behind the rapid spread of the virus in the district. Many poor people are also unable to afford getting tested at private labs. The government should start operating mobile vans for collection of swab samples from patients,” Mr. Sankara Rao said.

Vizianagaram District Medical and Health Officer S.V. Ramana Kumari told The Hindu that another laboratory would be set up in a couple of days in Parvatipuram to provide test results quickly for patients living in tribal and other remote areas. “We are trying our best to give results within a day to the patients. We also urge the patients to remain in home isolation till the test results are received,” she added.

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Printable version | May 28, 2022 6:25:08 am |