Dengue testing difficult in coming weeks – CMLSSL

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Testing for dengue would be a problem in the weeks to come with the Health Ministry lagging behind in payments of over Rs 4 billion for chemical reagents used to perform Full Blood Count (FBC) tests, the College of Medical Laboratory Science Sri Lanka (CMLSSL) warned.

President CMLSSL, Ravi Kumudesh yesterday (3) lambasted Technical Advisory Committees (TAC) for paving the way for corruption even in the purchase of reagents for FBC testing.  “It was used to purchase the reagent (machine specific reagents) from the same companies which supplied Full Blood Count Automated Analysers (FBCAA), after entering into agreements. The practice has been going on for the past several years, but the Health Ministry started to feel its impact only now owing to the current forex crisis in the country,” he alleged.

Majority of FBC Auto analysers in the country are either European or Chinese built. The machine specific agreements have been entered into with the countries owing to the commissions involved. But now, the importers refuse to procure the reagents required from their foreign manufacturers owing to the Health Ministry debts. As a result, Sri Lanka is unable to even use the reagents that it receives from FBC testing as donations or purchase the reagents from India using the Indian Credit line, Kumudesh stressed.

Meanwhile, the number of dengue cases in the country,by the end of week 16, had risen to 16,303. They include 3,644 cases being reported from Colombo, 2,408 from Gampaha, 1,517 cases from Kalutara, 1,026 from Galle, 991 from Jaffna, 931 from Puttalam, 817 from Kurunegala, 771 from Ratnapura, and 710 from Kandy.

A total 60 Medical Officer of Health areas have been flagged as high risk during week 16. Kaduwela, Moratuwa, Boralesgamuwa, Hanwella, EgodaUyana, Katana, Minuwangoda, Mirigama, Wattala, Seeduwa, Mathugama, Dodangoda, Harispattuwa, Baddegama, Bope, Poddala, Elpitiya Point Pedro, Tellipalai, Nallur, Kinniya, Trincomallee, (Naval Base) and KalumunaiSouth had been newly identified, the National Dengue Control Unit of the Health Ministry noted.

By Dilanthi Jayamanne