Pvt labs under lens for cheating on dengue tests

Pvt labs under lens for cheating on dengue tests
Kolkata Municipal Corporation has found a large number of nursing homes and pathology labs that have been conducting dengue tests by the `rapid kit’ method but charging patients for the more expensive Elisa tests.

A KMC health department team has even found that a large number of nursing homes or pathology labs have recently been set up with no infrastructure for testing dengue, but which have been doing business at some of the city’s prime locations.

KMC has five dengue detection centres and the chain of malaria clinics run by the civic health department take blood samples of patients and send those to the dengue detection centres. Though the KMC health department does the Elisa test free of cost, private clinics charge anything between Rs 1,500 and Rs 2,000 for each test.

Under National Vector Borne Diseases Control Programme, nothing other than the Elisa method is allowed for testing dengue. A high powered delegation from the health ministry , which had come to Kolkata in July and asked civic authorities that under no circumstances should the rapid kit method be used to test for dengue.

Accordingly , KMC wrote to private hospitals, nursing homes and private practitioners to follow the Centre’s guidelines.

However, the KMC lab technicians found dengue test reports submitted to them by private labs and nursing homes that were done by using rapid kits.

The health department officials informed Atin Ghosh, member, mayor-in-council overseeing the KMC health department. Ghosh asked civic officials to conduct a survey of these private clinics and labs. Some of these labs and clinics are located in areas like Burrabazar, Bagbazar, Topsia, Garden Reach and some parts of EM Bypass.

A fortnight ago Ghosh wrote to the health department, giving details of the errant clinic labs and seeking immediate intervention.