100 walk-in kiosks will be set up across the country
Non- government organization (NGO) Brac has decided to assist Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) by installing walk-in sample collection kiosks in areas vulnerable to the coronavirus outbreak across the country.
Brac will install 50 kiosks in Dhaka by next week. 50 more will be set up across the country soon, according to a press release published on Tuesday.
A memorandum of understanding will soon be signed in this regard between BRAC and the DGHS, the statement reads.
BRAC is currently recruiting medical technologists, installing kiosks, collecting samples, and transferring those samples to designated testing labs.
The DGHS is also assisting BRAC in training technologists and providing sample collection kits to the organisation.
Brac Health, Nutrition and Population Programme’s Associate Director, Morseda Chowdhury, said: “We will set up 100 walk-in kiosks across 19 risky regions to expedite the government’s initiative of scaling up testing capacity alongside the government's ongoing activities. Half of these kiosks will be set up in Dhaka.”
Chowdhury said 17 kiosks have been installed at 14 locations in Dhaka since May 11 as per DGHS directives and work on installing more booths is in progress.
“Brac is yet to receive any new funds in this regard. However, the organisation is redirecting some of its funds from the Department for International Development (DFID) of the UK government, to continue these steps,” Chowdhury added.
The kiosks that will be set up at hospitals will be operated by respective hospital staff. Two trained medical technologists from Brac at each booth set up elsewhere, will be collecting samples.
They will collect samples from 9am to 12pm, Saturday through Thursday. Every day, technicians will be able to collect samples from 40 people showing common symptoms of Covid-19 including fever, dry cough, fatigue, sore throat, and respiratory difficulties.
Once collected, the samples will be sent to testing facilities designated by the DGHS.
Persons being tested will have to fill out forms prescribed by the DGHS, providing personal information, including phone numbers.
Test results will be sent to the respective individuals by text messages to the phone number they are required to provide during sample collection at the kiosks.
Two methods of screening patients are being followed for sample collection. Initially, paramedics will screen potential patients according to national definitions of cases and contacts. Select candidates will then be sent on to sample collection kiosks in medical colleges and hospitals, or kiosks adjacent to the paramedic screening facilities.
Elderly people, people with existing comorbidities, doctors, healthcare workers, staff at health facilities, and others working in closed settings such as workplaces or classrooms will be prioritised for sample collection given the constraint in resources.
On May 11, Information Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud inaugurated a kiosk on the Dhaka Reporters Unity premises dedicated to collect samples from journalists for Covid-19 tests. Another kiosk will be inaugurated at the National Press Club soon.