The fight against the spread of Covid-19 will require not just money and human resources, but ingenuity and creative problem-solving
As a densely populated nation, Bangladesh faces certain unique challenges when it comes to testing. Systematically testing each and every person, the way countries like Iceland have done, for example, may not be a realistic option for a country of well over 160 million living in close proximity.
But to stop this Covid-19 pandemic from going out of hand here at home, adequate testing is crucial. Here, creative solutions can come to the rescue.
It is wonderful to see NGOs step up to this challenge. Brac, for example, has installed 13 walk-in sample collection kiosks in Dhaka and Narayanganj, both Covid-19 hotspots of the country. The goal here is to provide 100 kiosks to boost sample collection, where people can deposit a throat swab to a health worker, who in turn sits behind a glass panel and uses protective gloves.
We should always be trying to learn from other countries that have done well in the Covid-19 fight, and South Korea has done an admirable job using the kiosk model. This could be particularly useful in Bangladesh, because we are still seeing a PPE shortage, and this kiosk model of testing minimizes the PPE requirement.
Another advantage of these kiosks is that they are mobile, so if other hotspots emerge, the kiosks can be relocated.
The fight against the spread of Covid-19 will require not just money and human resources, but ingenuity and creative problem-solving. Having testing kiosks will not solve the problem alone, and they are no substitute for proper medical facilities, but they will go a long way towards identifying coronavirus positive cases in the country.