There are three ways for someone who wishes to be tested for Covid-19 to arrange sample collection, Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) Director (MIS) Dr Md Habibur Rahman has said.
“First, you can call Sasthya Batayan or the hunting number or the DGHS ((333, 16263, or 01944333222) and the recently established lab call cell will inform he local health official at the district and upazila level to collect the sample. Second, you can contact institutes that have testing facilities directly, and they will arrange collection of samples. Third, you can contact assistant health officials at the union level office and they will arrange it,” the director said.
Dr Habibur’s comments follow the government announcement that coronavirus testing has now been decentralized. Health authorities have said they took time before coming to the decision, in order to ensure proper management of the testing process and minimize the risk of false negatives.
Swadhinata Chikitsak Parishad (Swachip) President Dr Iqbal Arslan is assisting DGHS Director (Planning and Research) Dr Iqbar Kabir with the expansion of lab facilities and the establishment of the lab call cell at the new DGHS head office in Mohakhali. The Swachip president gives perspectives on risk communication and community engagement.
Dr Iqbal Arslan said if any calls are made to the hunting number, doctors will be assigned to identify the possible infected and they will inform the lab call cell. They will convey the address of the suspected patient to UN health officers in upazilas and to civil surgeons in district towns or cities.
Meanwhile, a line director level official of DGHS who was present during the training told the Dhaka Tribune that medical technologists working at district and upazila level offices have been provided with training through video conferences.
They all worked when samples were collected for measles, he said, adding that some 20-25 medical technologies are there in any village. PPE has been provided to them for use during sample collection.
The Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) conducted the training.
Dr Iqbal Arslan told Dhaka Triune extra skills are needed to collect potential Covid-19 samples, so the health authorities provided training to the field level medical technologists in four installments.
According to the DGHS integrated control room, around 460 samples were collected as of 7pm on Thursday, the first day after deciding to conduct 1,000 Covid-19 tests per day.