Lack of test kits hits Dengue treatment in Dhaka

Lack of test kits hits Dengue treatment in Dhaka

Agency News

Dhaka, Aug 5 : A lack of kits for diagnosis of Dengue fever has hit the markets with some hospitals in Dhaka turning suspected patients away without testing them as the mosquito borne viral disease has claimed five more lives across Bangladesh.

Three women, a top police officer’s wife and two college students died from dengue during treatment in the capital on Sunday. A schoolboy died on Sunday evening and an elderly woman on Saturday night in Khulna, reported.

In Dhaka, authorities of different hospitals said the price of NS1 antigen test, which had been Tk 120, started to rise in the beginning of the latest bout of dengue around a month ago and it is unavailable even for Tk 450 now. They have blamed traders who say in reality it was the hospitals that stopped the test as the government barred them from making extra profit by fixing the charge at maximum Tk 500.

Dr Sirajul Islam Medical College Hospital at Malibagh stopped dengue tests on Sunday while the Islami Bank Specialised Hospital at Naya Paltan said it was conducting the tests only on those that they have admitted, not new ones.

Shafiqul Islam, a director at the Impulse Hospital in Tejgaon, said the Directorate General of Health Services on Sunday told the hospitals through text messages that there were enough dengue test kits in the market, but the traders on same day night said all the shipments were stuck at airport.
We can’t check who is telling the truth, he said.

Now it takes Tk 400 or more to buy one kit. How are they selling the kits if there is a crisis? he asked, pointing the finger at the traders. Officials of some other hospitals also brought the allegation of market manipulation against dishonest traders.

MA Bhuiyan, an importer of medical equipment, said it takes at least three days to bring goods from abroad. He suggested cutting red tape for dengue test kit import, for now, considering the outbreak. Sohag Mia, the owner of Sohag Surgical on Topkhana Road, said he brought 700 NS1 kits from Kolkata on Aug 1, but regular customers bought those within 10 minutes of arrival last Thursday. He said it takes at least 15 days for him to import medical equipment.

Another trader, requesting anonymity, said they were selling NS1 kits to only regular customers at high prices fearing clandestine drives by the authorities, leading to the crisis.

On Sunday, the health directorate urged all not to undergo dengue test without the doctor’s advice in case of fever. (UNI)