Allegation of overcharging for Covid-19 test raised against the diagnostic centre
The district health authorities in Narayanganj have ordered a branch of LabAid diagnostic and consultation centre in the city to stop collecting samples for Covid-19 testing, following an allegation of overcharging a potential Covid-19 for the test.
Narayanganj Civil Surgeon Imtiaz Ahmed confirmed the matter to Dhaka Tribune on Tuesday.
Imtiaz said a government-run sample collection booth has been set up at the Judicial Court building in Narayanganj city’s Kalirbazar Mor area, where samples are collected for Tk200 fee, since July 1.
“As we are having a manpower crisis, we asked private facilities to provide an employee each to work at the booth to collect samples at the government rate.
"From LabAid, a technician by the name of Jony has been working at the booth. We received a complaint that he collected the Tk4,000 fee, which has been fixed for sample collection from home, at the booth.
“Recently, Jony asked a patient to the booth to give samples for the test, and took Tk4,000 from him, instead of the government fee or going to the patient’s house to collect his sample, which is illegal,” the civil surgeon said.
When contacted, Jahidul Islam, the patient in question, said: “As I developed symptoms of Covid-19, I called the diagnostic centre to collect samples. But the authorities at the diagnostic centre told me to go to the booth at the Judicial Court building."
Asked about this allegation, Jony said: “We could not go to the patient’s house to collect his sample due to the rain.”
However, he could not clarify whether collecting samples for a private facility is allowed at a government-run facility.
This correspondent tried to contact Md Sohel, manager of the LabAid diagnostic centre, but he was unavailable.
However, an employee of the diagnostic centre, on condition of anonymity, told Dhaka Tribune that these two employees had been suspended for tarnishing the image of the centre.