Anomalies in Covid-19 testing at Chattogram’s BITID | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 30, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:39 AM, June 30, 2020

Editorial

Anomalies in Covid-19 testing at Chattogram’s BITID

Such mismanagement can cost lives

Shocking situation at the Bangladesh Institute of Tropical and Infectious Diseases (BITID) in Chattogram. There have been a growing number of allegations that the institute has mishandled test results of patients who got tested for Covid 19—making mistakes in labelling, giving reports after weeks and so on.

A patient—who gave his sample in late May and finally learnt he tested positive after several failed attempts, in mid-June—already received his result on June 27, but had June 28 as the designated date for sample collection and June 29 as the date of delivery. With such obvious mistakes, it is difficult for the patients to trust the accuracy of the results. The report says that some test results were found stacked in a basket and left on a table at the corridor of the institute, with no responsible staff to take care of them. Patients are supposed to rummage through the many stacks of papers in order to find their individual report. Not only does such a callous practice make it possible for the reports to go missing, but they remain vulnerable to the violation of a patient's privacy.

At a time when we are facing a formidable health crisis, such mismanagement in delivering reports, and the ensuing trouble caused by it, is weighing heavy on the already burdened patients. The institute's claim that there is a shortage of manpower is not an acceptable justification for such callousness, as the outcome of these results are a matter of life and death. When testing is our only means of hope, hospitals cannot be negligent in carrying them out in the most accurate manner possible—from the collection of the sample to the delivery of the report.

We urge the authorities to immediately take steps to ensure that all those who have been given the responsibility to diagnose Covid-19 do so with diligence, and hold responsible all the officials involved in the anomalies in BITID and take immediate action. The health ministry can intervene to provide the necessary support and coordinate with the hospital staff to safeguard the testing process. Testing is futile if it is done in such a careless manner and dangerous because these mistakes can lead to wrong diagnosis and treatment.

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