Monday, 20 September, 2021

Shorten test turnaround times to save lives

A press report on inordinate delay in getting results of Covid-19 RT-PCR tests has raised great concern among the citizens countrywide. Although it sounds strange, a large number of sufferers have alleged that it took even weeks to get their Covid test reports. There are lots of people who are eagerly waiting to go back to work.

Without a test result, a potential corona patient is unlikely to isolate himself and thus infect others. In the process, the circle of transmission is getting wider. Consequently, the test results are proving to be useless in containing the lethal virus. Many have expressed opinions that the private clinical laboratory owners might be behind the nefarious act. According to them, these insensible people are out to make money by undermining the credibility of the government's health department. They are creating impediments towards the government initiatives to curb the deadly bug.

So, it is imperative on the part of the government to investigate the issue and streamline the process. Moreover, the government should solve the grave national problem in a coordinated manner taking help and cooperation from non-governmental organisations, civil society members and relevant stakeholders. As per experts, in the coming winter, the health authorities might have to do a flurry of activities, even more than we are seeing now due to further surge of Covid-19. If there is shortage of swabs, chemical reagents and equipment in public laboratories then the government should do the needful to fill up the shortage. If test turnaround times are shortened then we would be able to save lots of lives. The authorities concerned must act before time runs out.