Bokaro: Despite shortage of lab technicians who have doubled up as swab sample collectors due to the ongoing pandemic, those at Bokaro General Hospital (BGH) are reluctant to offer their services to collect samples, even at their hospital. The district health department said for the last six months, it is their lab technicians who are collecting samples at BGH.
The district sees around 2,000 samples being collected on a daily basis and with the shortage of lab technicians, Electrosteel of Vedanta Group and other private hospitals assured the district administration of help to expedite the process and a speedy containment of the virus.
Till Thursday, Bokaro recorded 1,150 cases of coronavirus of which, 350 are active, 786 have cured and 14 have died.
The BGH has 13 lab technicians and 15 X-ray technicians. Of them, four are above 55-year-old. Though the BGH management tried to deploy the technicians for swab collection and testing to expedite the screening process, majority of them denied to pitch in.
Bokaro Steel Limited spokesperson Mainkant Dhan said, “Lab technicians in BGH have already been assigned Covid duty. Even though some services have been temporarily scaled down, the hospital is also regularly catering to other patients apart from Covid and best efforts are being made to cater all requirements within the available resources.”
According to hospital authoritis, at present only two lab technicians and two X-ray technicians are testing samples as a part of Covid duty. BGH has a Truenat Testing machine in which the two lab technicians are engaged along with a doctor while the two X-ray technicians are conducting CT Scans and X-rays on Covid positive patients.
District epidemiologist officer Pawan Kumar Srivastava, who is monitoring swab collection across the district, said, “Since Covid-19 cases surfaced here, lab technicians and multipurpose workers of the health department are collecting swab samples at BGH every day. No BGH technician ever supported in swab collection.”
General secretary of Bokaro Steel Workers Union (INTUC), Birenderanath Choubey said, “There is an acute shortage of lab technicians and X-ray technicians at BGH. In other hospitals of the Steel Authority of India Limited, lab technicians are not spared for Covid duty. There are no incentives for lab technicians for performing Covid duty. They are also not being provided adequate PPEs, masks and other safety gears for which they have resisted to collect samples. I have written a letter to executive director, personnel and administration requesting for discussion, but have received no response so far.”