Mahakali Hospital fails to operate PCR labBhimdatta Municipality purchased a PCR machine six months ago but it is yet to come into operation due to delays in procurement of equipment.
Six months ago, Bhimdatta Municipality in Kanchanpur had purchased a PCR machine to conduct PCR testing in the district. The machine was handed over to the Mahakali Hospital three months ago. However, it remains unused till now and has been gathering dust at the hospital’s veranda.
In mid-July 2020, the municipality had spent Rs3.8 million to purchase a PCR machine with an objective to start conducting tests immediately.
“We purchased the machine and handed it over to the hospital a long time ago. An agreement was reached to operate the machine in coordination with all local units of the district and the provincial government,” said Himal Chand, spokesperson of Bhimdatta Municipality.
But the municipality has yet to put the machine to use. According to Chand, the other local units of the district have to purchase the necessary equipment as per the plan to be able to conduct PCR tests.
“The machine can test 96 swab samples at a time,” said Chand.
A few months ago, all local units in the district had promised to help in the operation of a PCR lab by providing Rs 1 to Rs 1.5 million.
“But none of the local governments helped in the procurement of testing kits and other equipment needed to operate a lab,” said Krishnadatta Joshi, chairman of Mahakali Hospital Development Committee. “The chiefs of the local units had said they would release the amount by holding executive meetings but they have yet to do so.”
According to the hospital administration, the health institution has already spent Rs5.3 million for the purchase of various equipment to operate a PCR lab.
“But none of the equipment has arrived yet,” said Joshi. “The PCR lab will be operated within a week or two. We have already appointed human resources for that purpose.”
In Kanchanpur, Covid-19 cases have been surging by the day. Most of the cases are being reported from Dodhara Chandani, Bhimdatta, Bedkot and Suklaphanta. The virus has already spread at the community level because of low number of PCR tests, suspect health workers.
According to the data of the Provincial Health Directorate, 1,719 individuals have tested positive for Covid-19 in Kanchanpur so far. Currently, there are 215 active cases.
Mahakali Hospital has been collecting 30 to 40 swab samples on a daily basis. These swabs have to be sent to Dhangdhi for PCR testing. It takes at least two to three days to receive test reports.
According to health workers, the risk can be minimised only after expanding PCR test numbers by operating the lab in Mahakali Hospital.
“The hospital will soon start operating the PCR lab. The lab could not be operated on time due to delay in the procurement process,” said Dr Hari Shrestha, the medical superintendent of the hospital.