Testing of samples, collected from suspected Covid-19 patients from remote areas of Chattogram division, is being severely hampered due to lack of knowledge and poor management, alleged concerned sources. Due to a lack of storage and immediate transportation facilities, several samples have already been wasted in the greater Chattogram, sources informed.
According to the doctors and health officials at the front line of the COVID-19 war, the situation is being created mainly due to the lack of skilled manpower, mental strength, and experience of health workers and technicians to collect the samples. Since March 26, testing for Covid-19 started at the Bangladesh Institute of Tropical and Infectious Diseases, BITID, Chattogram. A total of 2,800 samples have been sent from 101 sub-districts of Chattogram division. Out of these, about 2100 samples were tested while many of them could not be examined the due to alleged mishandling.
Meanwhile, the Corona Laboratory at the BITID canceled three samples from Banshkhali sub-district last Monday (April 20) due to faulty collection. Earlier on Thursday, nine samples were sent from the same sub-district but the lab experts rejected them as they were defective and incomplete.
"In many cases, the samples coming from the sub-districts (upazilas) are defective and incomplete,” said Dr Shakil Ahmed, head of the lab at BITID, adding, “There is nothing in the tube or no cork in the tube, which means the sample is completely wasted. This is mainly due to lack of knowledge on sample collection.”
He also said that in the present situation every health worker and technician is expected to play their dueroles. If these health workers continue to be irresponsible, thenin the longer run it may turn out to be a disaster.” Health directorate sources informed that in each sub-district, there are two medical technologists who are supposed to collect samples of the suspected coronavirus patients. However, all health technologists are not fit for the job. Besides these, in many upazilas technicians are found missing as they are said to be deputed for works in other work stations.
DrHasan Shariar Kabir, Divisional Director of Health Directorate of Chattogram said that at present, 3-5 percent of the samples sent from remote areas are being rejected due to faulty collection method. There can be many reasons for this. We are trying to bring the rate of faulty sample collection to minimum.”
“Since COVID-19 is a new health problem, special precautions are being taken in collecting samples. In some cases that could not be done, he said,” adding, “Once we know who is causing such a crisis, we will take necessary action.”
According to sources, the World Health Organization WHO has a definitive guideline for collecting samples from the body of a coronavirus patient. Health workers and doctors have not yet become accustomed to it. Due to fear and panic, it is also difficult to get proper support from patients for collecting the sample from their bodies.
The lab technologist in charge of the sub-district health complex is not collecting samples from patients suspected of having corona symptoms. This is why the patient himself or his relatives are being forced to collect samples, which are collected and stored in a faulty manner.
There are specific allegations that health technologists in Bashkali sub-district have collected samples using free the hands of the patient's relatives. Many samples from the upzilla were damaged last week.
Dr Kabir, also said that at present there is only one lad for the entire Chattogram to test coronavirus samples. Soon, this test will start at Chattogram Veterinary and Animal Science University and Chattogram Medical College Hospital. Then it will be possible to collect more samples.