The DGHS move comes following allegations of fake test reports being issued by the labs in question
The health authorities in Bangladesh have suspended four laboratories in Dhaka from running rt-PCR tests for Covid-19 for people going out of the country until further notice.
The Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) made the decision following allegations that the facilities in question had been issuing false test reports for the pandemic disease.
According to DGHS sources, the four laboratories are Al-Jami Diagnostic Centre in Paltan, Stemz Health Care (BD) Ltd at Bangla Motor, CSBF Health Centre at Bijoy Sarani, and Medinova Medical Services Ltd in Mirpur.
Although these labs can still offer their other services, the authorities, upon further investigation, may decide to completely shut them down for issuing fake Covid reports.
The DGHS has also issued a fresh eight-point directive for other testing facilities providing services to people going abroad.
It has barred the lab authorities from collecting samples from the homes of people seeking Covid-19 tests prior to leaving the country.
Besides, the sample collection booths of the International Medical College Hospital in the Mohakhali area, set up for migrant workers, have also been shut down by the DGHS.
When contacted, sources at the DGHS could not confirm what sparked the ongoing investigation but said that complaints had been filed regarding the fictitious reports issued for expatriate workers.
DGHS Director (hospitals and clinics) Dr Farid Mia, while talking to Dhaka Tribune, said: “Through initial investigations, we have found evidence that the complaints made against the [aforementioned] labs are true. We wrote to them regarding the suspension on Wednesday.”
DGHS officials, seeking anonymity, said: “We have seen that in most of the cases, where fake reports were issued, the samples were collected from outside the labs although the DHGS had issued permits for tests on the condition that the samples must be collected at the laboratories.
“As a result of all these irregularities, the DGHS has decided to go strict over the issue.” The eight-point DGHS directive includes conditions, such as persons seeking a Covid test must be verified through their original passports, no copies will be allowed; Covid negative certificates will have to be verified at the airport using one’s passport number/certificate number and no mobile numbers will be accepted in this regard; if anyone going abroad tests coronavirus positive a week before leaving the country, he or she again needs to complete a test from a government-run facility.
The DGHS warned that if any complaint was received against any of the labs in operation, it would first issue a suspension and then start an investigation.
According to the DGHS, there are currently some 132 labs, 53 government and 79 private, conducting rt-PCR tests across Bangladesh.
Expatriates are getting tested for the deadly virus at the Army Stadium in Dhaka under government arrangements.
Meanwhile, at least 49 private laboratories are also operational with the same facilities for people leaving the country.