• Thursday, Dec 09, 2021
  • Last Update : 04:03 am

Govt reduces Covid-19 testing fees

  • Published at 11:46 pm August 20th, 2020
covid 19 testing
Representational photo: Bigstock

This decision comes a month and a half after the Health Ministry decided to impose charges for coronavirus tests

The government has finally reduced the fees charged for Covid-19 testing at state-run hospitals and institutions.

This decision comes a month and a half after the Health Ministry decided to impose charges for coronavirus tests.

An official notification, signed by the Deputy Secretary of the Health and Family Welfare Ministry, Dr Bilkis Begum, was issued in this regard on Thursday.

According to the circular, patients will now have to pay Tk100 instead of Tk200 for testing if they provide their samples at collection booths. Testing samples of in-patients at hospitals will cost the same.

The fee will be Tk300 instead of Tk500 if samples are collected from homes.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Health and Family Welfare Ministry, during a meeting, decided to drop the fees for coronavirus testing in government hospitals and institutions across the country.

The Covid-19 testing was free for all at state-run facilities since the deadly disease made landfall in Bangladesh back in March.

The government imposed the fee from June 29 to “avoid unnecessary tests and ensure better management," the ministry had claimed as people, who did not show any symptoms, provided their samples for testing as it was free of cost.

However, afterwards, the volume of testing  gradually came down, and many stakeholders, including health sector specialists, also criticized the government move.

Health Minister Zahid Maleque, at a press briefing at the secretariat after Wednesday's meeting, expressed the hope that the volume of Covid-19 testing would go up once the decision to decrease the fees came into effect.

“The new fees will come into effect in the next two days,” he said and added that the fees had been reduced in the interest of the people.

"Many poor people have lost interest in getting tested because of the fees. We talked to the prime minister about this and followed her directive in reducing the fees. Hopefully, the number of tests will increase after fees are reduced," the minister said. 

He also mentioned that the quality, availability and effectiveness of the Covid-19 vaccine was being analyzed by keeping in constant touch with all countries.

He claimed that 70% of beds at Covid-19 dedicated hospitals were currently empty. As a result, a large number of doctors and nurses were passing an idle time.

The government was working to convert some of these hospitals into non-Covid-19 hospitals, he said, adding that this would benefit non-Covid-19 patients more.

Bangladesh’s official coronavirus tally on Thursday stood at more than 287,000 cases and more than 3,800 deaths.

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