Covid-19 testing facility stops working over kits shortage in Abbotabad

Updated 01 Jun 2020

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“No laboratory testing has been made since May 26 due to non-provision of consumables." — Reuters/File
“No laboratory testing has been made since May 26 due to non-provision of consumables." — Reuters/File

ABBOTTABAD: Due to shortage of consumables used in PCR machine for last five days, the newly-established laboratory at Ayub Teaching Hospital has stopped Covid-19 tests, causing pendency of cases.

Source on condition of anonymity told Dawn that pendency of Covid-19 tests had been increasing. They said PDMA had provided the machine, but it had not made any agreement with any contractor for repair or maintenance of the machine. The limited consumables provided, including kits used in the PCR, have been utilised, they added.

The hospital’s director has also requested the provincial health department for provision of kits at the earliest, but no action has so far been taken. “No laboratory testing has been made since May 26 due to non-provision of consumables which has created backlog of cases,” the source said.

They said though manual testing facility had been generated at the hospital, the automatic PCR could save the healthcare professionals from being exposed to any infection. The staffers operating the manual PCR system are exposed at the stage of extraction, washing and mixing process, which are done by the automatic machine in a closed chamber, they explained.

Medical director Dr Ahsan Aurangzeb confirmed that they were not having auto extractor with the PCR machine.

Head of pathology department Prof Naeema Afzal also confirmed the installation of PCR machine without automatic extraction facility. He said they had been following the infection control guidelines of WHO.

Hospital’s media manager said due to some system error the machine had stopped working, but a team was working on it, and hopefully the problem would be sorted out shortly.

CASES REGISTERED: The police registered 550 cases against traders and owners of shopping malls for not implementing the SOPs.

The police also registered 98 cases against operators of CNG stations, while over 4,000 shopkeepers were issued warnings during Eid holidays.

Hazara division DIG Qazi Jamil-ur-Rehman has directed all the DPOs to take strict action against the violators of the SOPs. He asked them to have meetings with the traders, owners of CNG stations and petrol pumps for implementation of the SOPs.

Published in Dawn, June 1st, 2020