Something between Tk200 and Tk500 may be charged for testing a sample, officials familiar with the matter say
Coronavirus suspects will not be able to test their samples for free anymore at state-run facilities as the Health Ministry is planning to introduce fees.
“We have discussed the issue, but it’s yet to be finalized,” Health Minister Zahid Maleque told Bangla Tribune on Saturday before adding that an official announcement will be made “very soon.”
“The government is spending a lot of funds (for testing). We have fixed charges of tests at private facilities at Tk3,500. But the actual cost is more if you take into account the cost of setting up labs and procuring equipment,” he said.
The government is now testing between 15,000 and 20,000 samples a day now, which the minister said “costs a lot every day.”
“That’s why we are planning to charge a minimal fee … an official announcement will be made very soon,” added Maleque.
Officials familiar with the matter said that something between Tk200 and Tk500 will be charged for testing a sample.
According to them, Tk200 has been proposed as charge if a person comes in at a state-run facility for testing samples. The same fee will be applicable for inpatients.
If samples are collected from home, Tk500 will charged for the test, they say.
Sources at the Health Ministry said that a draft of the proposed fees is now pending approvals from the secretary and the minister.
The move to charge for sample testing has been taken in a bid to cover the cost of importing test kits, they added.
As of now, a total of 66 facilities — 48 state-run and 18 private — across the country test samples for Covid-19.
Bangladesh has so far tested 712,098 samples and reported 133,978 confirmed cases as of Saturday.