The government on Friday permitted nine more private hospitals and diagnostic centres, along with the existing eight such facilities, to carry out COVID-19 tests.
The RT-PCR tests can be done on any test seeker at these new facilities at the government-fixed rate.
‘We’ve expanded the COVID-19 testing to 17 private hospitals and diagnostic centres, 14 in the capital, two in Chattogram and one in Bogura,’ said Nasima Sultana, additional director general of the Health Services.
The government testing facilities were struggling with the increasing number of test seekers, prompting the government to privatise the testing operation.
The testing at the eight previous private hospitals and diagnostic centres was limited to admitted patients only, but the DGHS on Thursday permitted them to extend the testing to outdoor patients also.
The 17 labs can now collect samples of patients from home also and can open up booths at other private hospitals to collect samples, said Nasima.
The private RT-PCR testing fees for indoor and outdoor patients have been fixed at Tk 3,500 and Tk 1,000 and test seekers can be additionally charged for collecting samples from home, she said.
Of the 17 private testing facilities, 14 are in the capital.
They are: ICDDR,B, Evercare Hospital, Square Hospital, Ibne Sina Medical College Hospital, Prava Health Bangladesh Limited, Enam Medical College Hospital, United Hospital, Anwer Khan Modern Medical College Hospital, Biomed Diagnostics, Bangladesh Institute of Health Science and General Hospital, Lab Aid Hospital, Care Medical College Hospital, DMFR Molecular Lab and DNA Solution Limited.
Earlier, ICDDR,B and Prava Health Bangladesh Limited only tested the government-supplied samples, but they could not collect and test samples from other patients, Nasima said.
The two testing facilities in Chattogram are Chevron Clinical Lab and Imperial Hospital and the one in Bogura is TMSS Medical College and Rafatullah Community Hospital.
Bangladesh is one of the lowest COVID-19 testing countries and it has so far tested 2,23 lakh samples.
The COVID-19 tests per million population in Bangladesh are 1,361.
Until late March, the number of daily tests was less than 100 and the tests were centralised at the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research in the capital.
Now 39 government labs are testing samples collected by the DGHS.
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