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JPMC without lab, kits to test Covid-19

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JPMC without lab, kits to test Covid-19
« on: March 24, 2020, 12:54:18 PM »
JPMC without lab, kits to test Covid-19
KARACHI:24 March: The Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC), a major public sector health facility in Sindh, is without a laboratory to diagnose coronavirus, sources told Dawn.

The JPMC is currently looking after suspected as well as some confirmed cases of Covid-19 in its isolation ward.

The hospital, they said, had been seeking government support in this regard since January, but received no response yet.

“As numbers of Covid-19 patients are growing, it’s important that the government makes critical testing facility available at major tertiary care public sector hospitals of the city, which get patients from poorer segments of society,” said a senior JPMC doctor.

Last week, the hospital received hundreds of patients with flu-like symptoms. Of them, samples from 31 selected patients were sent to the Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH), which provided testing support on the coronavirus outbreak under an arrangement with the government, he added.

It is important to mention here that Covid-19 diagnostic facility is currently available free of cost at the Indus Hospital, the Ojha campus of Dow University of Health Sciences and more recently at the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation.

The AKUH — the first health facility in the province to start testing for Covid-19 — has recently stopped providing the service.

“In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, we had dedicated our community health centre for screening and testing of suspected patients. This facility functioned very well providing services to hundreds of patients a day.

“On Saturday (March 21), we had to close this facility to new patients as it was overburdened. Now, as we move towards a lockdown of the city, this screening service will remain temporarily closed,” said a statement from the AKUH.

CM’s positive response

When contacted, JPMC executive director Dr Seemin Jamali explained that the hospital did not have the specific Level-3 molecular laboratory required for Covid-19 diagnosis and had requested the government for the same.

“The chief minister has recently responded positively to our request for grant of Rs25m to establish an emergency Covid-19 laboratory at the hospital. We are hoping that the laboratory would be functional within two weeks,” she said, adding that the facility was much needed.

According to her, the hospital with 80-bedded isolation ward already has few laboratory rooms which are now being upgraded and equipment would be installed soon.

“The staff training wouldn’t take much time and start once equipment is procured from abroad by the importing company,” she said.

The hospital, she pointed out, followed strict criteria for collecting samples as the polymerase chain reaction-based test recommended for Covid-19 was costly.Published in Dawn, March 24th, 2020.
If you born poor, its not your fault....But if you die poor, its your fault...."Bill Gates"