Health freaks thronging Patna zoo in the morning have found an easy and inexpensive — though dubious — way to check their blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
Rajendra Kumar, a political science graduate from AN College, has set up a mini clinic outside gate no. 2 of the zoo. He uses electronic, self-use devices to check the blood pressure and blood sugar of morning walkers.
For Rajendra and his clients, it is a matter of convenience. He gets around 40 morning walkers each day and they, too, are happy getting the services for a paltry charge. But medical professionals suspect the efficiency of such tests.
Rajiv Ranjan, general secretary, Bihar Health Service Association, said: “Medical tests must be done by trained professionals under the supervision of a doctor and with proper equipment. Electronic devices like this (ones Rajendra uses) are easily available in the market. They don’t always provide accurate results.”
Rajendra’s clients, however, do not seem worried about the accuracy of the results.
Nilesh Kumar, a resident of Raja Bazaar, said: “It is very convenient for us to go to his (Rajendra’s) clinic. His charges are also quite low. If I go to an established pathological laboratory, I would have to shell out at least Rs 100.”
Rajendra charges Rs 10 for checking blood pressure and Rs 20 for blood sugar.
“I charge very little. Most people prefer to get blood sugar tested on an empty stomach. What better place than Patna zoo, where so many people come for morning walk?” said Rajendra, who sits with his equipment on the footpath between 6 and 9 in the morning.
Rajendra, who claims to have done a course on pathology from Rakesh Pathology Centre at Chandi, Biharsharif, Nalanda, said: “I maintain sanitary conditions. I always use a fresh needle for my lancet to test the blood sugar of each of my clients.”
To test the accuracy of Rajendra’s equipment, this correspondent and the photographer accompanying him got their blood pressure and blood sugar tested by the maverick entrepreneur and then at a certified laboratory. The results were often startlingly different. (See graphic)
District authorities claim that Rajendra’s clinic was illegal. Lakhendra Prasad, civil surgeon, Patna said: “One must have an authorisation from the competent authority to run a clinic. I will ensure that the makeshift clinic is closed down if it does not have the proper documents.”