The model booths will also provide lessons that could potentially help the program to expand the initiative in other parts of the country
A number of private sector stakeholders, in association with the government, on Thursday launched digital booths to help increase Bangladesh’s Covid-19 screening and testing capacity.
These first of its kind one-stop Covid-19 “triage and sample collection” booth, will scale up Covid-19 rt-PCR tests in Bangladesh, said organizers in a press release.
The model booths will also provide lessons that could potentially help the program to expand the initiative in other parts of the country, including more rural areas where there is a shortage of doctors and medical facilities, they added.
Digital Healthcare Solutions (DH), the Institute for Developing Science and Health Initiatives (ideSHi) and Mugda Medical College and Hospital (MMCH) jointly launched the booths under a multi-partner consortium, led by Concern Worldwide, which is implementing the Essential Healthcare for the Disadvantaged (EHD) in Bangladesh Program, funded by UKAID.
The EHD program is being implemented under the guidance of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Bangladesh, said the release.
Meanwhile, Dhaka-9 MP and Chairman of Mugda General Hospital Management Committee Saber Hossain Chowdhury inaugurated the booths through a videoconference.
Mugda Medical College and Hospital is providing operational support, while ideSHi is providing full laboratory testing of the Covid-19 samples under the arrangement.
After a teleconsultation with a doctor, patients with strong coronavirus symptoms will proceed to the nearby DH Sample collection booth at the Mugda Medical College and Hospital, and provide a sample, added the release.
“The free of cost service will be available daily except Friday from morning to evening. Patients will get their test results and additional advice within 48 hours. In order to ensure quality and safety, one booth will collect 150 samples a day, on a first come first serve basis,” said the release.
Speaking at the launch, ruling party MP Saber Hossain Chowdhury said: “This venture is a solid example of multi-sectoral engagement and partnership wherein the government, development partners, private sector and foundations have all come together in responding to coronavirus.
“This initiative also leverages innovation, technology, and learning from other countries in ensuring an inclusive approach.”
Echoing the same, DH CEO Sajid Rahman, stated that this innovation of bringing together Covid-19 testing with digital doctor triage can help protect essential test resources – and ensure only those who truly need a test on medical grounds will be receiving one.
Fahmida Shabnam, Human Development Team Leader of DFID Bangladesh, said that this initiative could potentially help the government to improve efficiency and effectiveness of sample collection, and rapidly scale up testing, particularly among the disadvantaged population in rural areas.
Among others, Concern Worldwide Country Director Hasina Rahman, Dr Firdausi Qadri, Lead ideSHi & Emeritus Scientist, icddr,b, Jalal Ahmed, President of Institute of Architects Bangladesh, and Shumon Sengupta, Director of the EHD Consortium at Concern Worldwide also spoke at the launching event.