18 June, Kathmandu:
Nepal Health Research Council mentioned in a report that the purchased 75,000 rapid diagnostic kits by the government through Omni Business Corporate International only detect the presence of the coronavirus antibodies 50 percent of the time.
It was purchased in late March for around $10 million. The Health Ministry had canceled the procurement tender when questions were raised over the quality of the medical equipment and accusations of corruption but since 75,000 RDTs had already arrived, decided to make use of them regardless.
Earlier, the ministry did mention that they would only use the test kits if they were reliable enough the ministry rolled out those test kits throughout the country at once without waiting for the report.
The reports by the Nepal Health Research Council proclaimed, “Compared to the reference standard (RT-PCR), the sensitivities of the Wondfo Kits were 50 percent, and the specificities were 99.5 percent.”
The report is based on tests performed in Sudurpaschim Province in April on 200 individuals. The report had been submitted to the Health Ministry in May but the ministry held the report for 1.6 months while continuing to employ RDTs for diagnostic purposes, said the laboratory officials.
The news in early April stated that “the National Public Health Ministry submitted a preliminary report based on just four samples from patients with Covid-19. Even in those four positive samples, one had shown a false result. The ministry, however, had pushed through with RDTs as a diagnostic tool.”
Since the test kits are only able to detect antibodies 50% of the time, which means thousands of people have been sent home on the basis of being tasted with RDTs. And 50 percent of them might have false results.
Is this how a government reacts to this deadly virus? The questions have been piled up against the efforts of the government towards it’s country. It is clear that the government has failed to secure its citizen and take the right steps toward the country’s issues.