More than 500 dengue cases have been reported from all over the state but the health department is yet to provide testing kits for the disease to different healthcare institutions.
Primary health centres, Sadar hospitals and other government facilities are providing care to patients on the basis of clinical diagnosis in the absence of dengue-testing kits. As the government health hubs are unable to conduct the tests, the patients have to get it done from private pathological laboratories at a high charge.
M.P. Choudhary, the medical officer-in-charge of Bakhari primary health centre in Begusarai district, said the healthcare institution did not have dengue-testing kits. “No dengue-testing kits have been made available to us. We are treating patients suspected to be suffering from dengue on the basis of clinical diagnosis. However, I feel that the government should provide us the kits considering the gravity of the situation. We are now fighting an epidemic of the disease.”
According to Patna district civil surgeon’s office, 10 cases of dengue have been referred from Begusarai to the hospitals of the state capital.
Ranjit Kumar, a doctor at the Koilwar primary health centre in Bhojpur district, said his centre, too, did not have dengue-testing kits. Bhojpur district has reported 12 cases of dengue.
Vimal, the deputy superintendent of Nawada Sadar Hospital also said dengue kits had not been made available to them. Eight cases from Nawada district have come to hospitals in Patna till now.
Not only far-flung districts, even health centres closer to the state capital do not have dengue-testing kits.
A primary health centre in Phulwarisharif reported on Thursday that it did not have the kits essential for diagnosis of dengue. However, the officials of Patna civil surgeon’s office have excuses aplenty to justify the shortage.
“The dengue-testing kits are available at Patna Medical College and Hospital, Nalanda Medical College and Hospital and Rajendra Memorial Research Institute of Medical Sciences. So, if a resident of Phulwarisharif wants to get the test done, he can go to any of the three places,” said an official.
To get the tests done at the government health hubs in the city, a patient from Phulwarisharif would have to travel 12-15km.
Experts said the lack of dengue-testing kits at the government facilities could create more problems in combating the disease. “I can understand that it is difficult for the government to provide Elisa test kits to government facilities because it depends on National Institute of Virology, Pune, for these. But why can’t the state government provide rapid diagnostic test kits, which are easily available in the market to government hospitals,” said a city-based doctor, who did not want to be named.