Increasing the volume of the Covid-19 sample tests is an emergency right now to avert any devasting situation in Bangladesh. When it comes to halting the COVID-19 crisis, virus testing is key to diagnosing cases and tracking the epidemic. It is the only way to uncover just how many people have been infected, and could infect others.
The countries that acted swiftly in terms of testing have been among the largest successes of the virus containment. However, in Bangladesh, it is discouraging to learn that due to lack of skilled technicians, most of the laboratories are lagging behind in testing for coronavirus human specimens.
Many coronavirus patients are dying without being tested. People, suspected of being infected with coronavirus, are finding it hard to have their samples tested. We still do not have enough designated hospitals and labs to conduct COVID-19 tests.
A tougher time is waiting for
us unless we can expand our
testing facilities immediately
Reportedly, only the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) were conducting the tests at the initial stage, later the testing facilities were expanded to various government and private hospitals.
At present, the country’s 49 test labs have the capacity to test more than 15,000 samples in 24 hours. But due to the shortage of skilled manpower, these labs test highest 10,000 samples in a day.
People, suspected of being infected with coronavirus, are finding it hard to have their samples tested as they have to stand several hours in the long queues for giving their samples.
A tougher time is waiting for us unless we can expand our testing facilities immediately. Apart from testing at RT PCR laboratories, more importance should be given on rapid testing. Also skilled and well-trained technologists will have to be appointed for sample collection purposes.
As our testing capacity is inadequate to portray the real picture, we must take necessary steps to conduct adequate and accurate testing. Given that testing is crucial to get the people most at risk the care they need, the lack of testing and an increase in demand over supply is critical in determining how the next several weeks of the pandemic will play out.