| Darbhanga Medical College |
Darbhanga, July 7: Darbhanga Medical College (DMC) has hi-fi gadgets, not the kits to operate them.
The health hub has polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and Bac-Tec machines. But it does not have the kits required for testing viral and bacterial diseases using the gadgets.
The machines are functional and in good condition. But the testing kits are out of stock for the past one year.
Patients prescribed to get tested through these machines have to visit private clinics, which charge exorbitant fees ranging between Rs 3,000 and Rs 4,000, for the tests.
At DMC, the same tests are done for Rs 1,000.
The head of microbiology department, S.P. Mahato, told The Telegraph: “An allotment for the purchase of testing kits came on March 30. It was, however, not possible to purchase the kits in a single day and this completely stalled the testing procedure despite having the machines.”
Sources said both the machines — PCR and Bec-Tec — were purchased at a cost of Rs 67 lakh in 2009 with testing kits worth Rs 2 lakh. Each kit could test 192 samples.
The PCR is used to diagnose viral or bacterial diseases, while Bec-Tec is used to detect types of viruses and bacteria.
For safety purposes, these machines have been kept in air-conditioned rooms and health workers maintain enough hygiene to keep the machines in working condition. The gadgets were installed in the microbiology department of DMC in 2009.
A.K. Gupta, the head of the medicine department at DMC, said: “Around 100 patients in the hospital are prescribed some kind of tests every day, which needs to be carried out through PCR or Bac-Tec machines. Patients have to bear the brunt of the market’s high cost of testing owing to non-availability of kits.”
Hari Shankar Mishra, an officer on special duty to the principal of DMC, said: “Rogee Kalyan Samiti is responsible for purchasing the kits. Tests at DMC cost Rs 1,000 and the money taken from the patients is deposited in the account of the samiti.”