Sample tests of ill kids to start at North Bengal Medical College and Hospital
Consistent spike in influenza-like illness (ILI) cases among children in different districts of north Bengal has made the state health department draw up a plan so that samples of such children can be tested at the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital (NBMCH).
Over the past couple of weeks, most of the ILI cases among children have been reported in Jalpaiguri and Malda districts and also in Siliguri subdivision of Darjeeling. Cases have also been reported from other districts of the region, but they are fewer.
“So far, the blood and swab samples of these ill children were being sent to The School of Tropical Medicine in Calcutta from the NBMCH as well as other hospitals of the region (north Bengal). This led to delay as pressure was mounting on the institute’s labs. That is why it has been decided that from now on, the testing facility would be introduced here at the NBMCH itself,” said a source at the hospital.
Even now, around 50 children with viral infection are under treatment at the NBMCH. Similar number of children are also undergoing treatment in Jalpaiguri and Malda, said sources.
S. Ponnambalam, the district magistrate of Darjeeling, said that NBMCH authorities would use multiplex PCR kits which can test the samples of children from across north Bengal.
“A tender has already been floated to procure the kits. At NBMCH, six types of kits will be used to test the samples and we hope the results will come much faster. The plan is to start the testing from next week,” said the district magistrate.
In another development, the state has also planned to open the superspeciality block at the NBMCH soon.
“However, we need to clean the NBMCH area for which the administration has sought help from Siliguri Municipal Corporation (SMC) and Siliguri Jalpaiguri Development Authority (SJDA),” the Darjeeling district magistrate added.
Sources said the SJDA, which has been entrusted with cleaning, has recently sent a letter to NBMCH authorities, saying they need to spend around Rs 7 lakh per month for the regular cleaning work and it was getting tough for them to continue the work every month without getting suitable funds.
“Regular cleaning of garbage, medical and clinical wastes is necessary. The district administration and state health department should resolve the issue (of funds for the purpose),” said a senior faculty member of NBMCH.