PCR test lab/ File Photo
KATHMANDU: As the government hopes to accelerate the tests capacity for coronavirus to make it at least 10,000 per day by June 29, private laboratories, too, have given their nod to support the government’s endeavor.
The Ministry of Health and Population shall provide the private labs Rs 5,500 per sample.
The National Public Health Laboratory, meanwhile, has already started the monitoring of the labs seeking government approval.
As many as 19 private laboratories have applied seeking permission to conduct the tests though none is granted permission to date.
If the recent statement of Minister Bhanu Bhakta Dhakal is to be considered, the government plans to expand the range of tests and enhance the test capacity in coordination with the private hospitals and laboratories so as to make it around ten thousand per day.
Consider what he had to say: “We have made the commitment of enhancing the capacity and make it possible to test at least 10,000 per day by June 29.”
He, however, had said that the government needed to increase manpower in the labs and operate lab service 24 hours a day.
According to him, the government would collaborate with the private sector to meet the target.
He informed that the government would provide the swabs to the private labs and pay them for the tests.
Minister Dhakal has assumed that the private laboratories would execute around 3000 tests per day once they are granted permission for the test.
“Provided we grant permission to the private labs and they execute 3000 tests per day, our target of 10,000 can be met easily,” he viewed.
It should be recalled that the Ministry of Health and Population had on April 27 formally announced to provide permission to the private labs to conduct tests.
According to Dr. Runa Jha, the Director of National Public Health Laboratory, after the Ministry’s declaration, 19 private labs have applied seeking permission.
However, even after 7 weeks, the private sectors are yet to get the permission.
What do the Directives say?
The Health Ministry has consented the Directives related to granting permission to the private sector to test the PCR of COVID-19.
With this formal consent, now the private labs will get permission to conduct the PCR test to find out if the samples contain coronavirus or not.
The directives consist of the details on the precaution, preparation, and the conditions for executing such tests.
It also talks about the procedure of establishing the COVID-19 lab, tools, and materials, human resources, quality control waste management, the service charge, and the information and data management the labs have to arrange for as per the directions of the Ministry of Health and Population.
The private labs should ensure that they have met the bio-safety level 2 standards as set by the National Public Health Laboratory.
Similarly, they should have the capacity of carrying out at least 200 tests per day.
In addition to it, there should be 3 separate rooms for the test, it should be spacious enough to let the movement of human resources and other materials.
Not only this, the rooms to be used as labs should also be environmentally fit to work, and there should be the power back up for it as well.
Similarly, the lab should arrange for the test kits required for the PCR test, safety health materials and others.
According to the directives, the private labs should submit all the samples to the National Public Health Laboratory once the test is over.
The private labs cannot collect the samples collected on their own, they have to tests only the samples provided by the public labs.
According to the Ministry, 22 labs established on behalf of the government have been carrying out the PCR tests of 6000-7000 samples to date.