Currently, a total of 81 testing facilities are conducting Covid-19 tests but not all of them provide home service
Towhidul Alam, a journalist of a private TV channel, started feeling sick a few weeks back while he was at his workstation. He had a hunch that he might have Covid-19.
However, he decided not to go to any sample collection booths on the thought that standing in the long queue in front of a booth might increase the risk of contracting coronavirus, if he did not have it already.
Towhidul called Dhaka’s CRL Diagnostics center to collect his sample from his residence. Both Towhidul and his wife tested positive for the virus and are undergoing treatment at home.
With his first-hand experience of getting samples collected from home, Towhidul told Dhaka Tribune that the service was good and hassle-free.
“I received my test report within 24 hours. The person who collected my sample was heavily geared up with protective equipment. I cannot really complain about anything,” he told the correspondent.
The sample collection service from home is still limited and not all designated testing facilities are providing the service. However, people who can afford the service are leaning towards it. Usually the whole procedure, starting from setting up an appointment to get the test results, takes up to 48 hours.
As per the latest government policy, a patient has to pay Tk200 for testing Covid-19 if they provide their samples at the collection booth. Testing at hospitals will cost the same. The fee will be Tk500 if samples are collected from home.
For private health service providers, the fee is Tk3500 if samples are collected from booths or hospitals, with a maximum fee of Tk4500 for the home service.
No list of home service providers
Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) spokesperson Dr Ayesha Akther told Dhaka Tribune that the government keeps track of organizations which are testing Covid-19 but it does not have a list of the organizations which are providing the home service.
“We have hotline numbers where people can call to schedule a time for sample collection service from home. However, the state-run health service providers are currently prioritizing people who are too sick to travel, pregnant women, elderly people, people with disabilities and children,” she added.
Currently, a total of 81 testing facilities are conducting Covid-19 tests. Not all of these 81 testing facilities provide the sample collection service from home.
The official data released from the health authority does not provide exclusive information about home services. However, the number of tests conducted have dropped in July.
Unlike the state-run testing facilities, private health service providers do not really have any special requirements to collect samples from home.
Praava Health, a privately-owned health service provider, started conducting Covid-19 tests in May. This organization has conducted around 20,000 tests so far and a significant number of people had their samples collected from home.
Kutub Uddin Kamal, communication lead of Praava Health, told Dhaka Tribune that many of their clients prefer sample collection service from home.
“We noticed many people prefer the sample collection service from home because they do not have to travel to our collection booth. Sometimes some people are too sick to leave their homes,” he added.
To set an appointment with Praava Health for sample collection service from home, people have to call 10648, send a message to its Facebook messenger, or book online for a testing appointment.
Praava Health will schedule an appointment with the patients and send a staff to collect the samples. The staff will call the patients or the caregiver 30 minutes prior to the arrival.
“We make sure our staff use fresh PPEs every time they go to a house to collect samples,” Kutub Uddin told the correspondent.
The results are emailed, texted, and uploaded to the patient portal within 48 hours, he added.