Contradicting COVID-19 test results cause for worry in Manipur

The government, on May 28, issued an order capping the rate for COVID-19 testing at government hospitals at ₹160 and at private hospitals at ₹350.

There has been a scramble to get tested for COVID-19 ever since the State Health department launched a massive COVID-19 awareness campaign in Manipur. And, increasing instances of contradicting test results, including those of some scribes, has cast aspersions on the credibility of both private and government hospitals.

Sources said, in the past, diagnosis of cancer were proved incorrect when retested at centres in other cities like Mumbai. Out of the court settlements were reached with these poor patients, who had to mortgage movable and immovable properties for going to Mumbai for treatment, and diagnosis centres, they said.

Prof. Chinglen Maisnam, economics department, Manipur University, told The Hindu on June 6 that the increasing instances of contradicting test results should be looked into. “This concerns the life of the people.”

Quoting media reports, Mr. Maisnam said, “One person from Imphal had his sample tested in a well-known diagnosis hospital on May 31 as he planned to go to another State. He was certified as COVID-19 positive. Since he was not satisfied, he got himself tested again in the same diagnosis centre on June 1 without disclosing the May 31 finding. He was taken aback to find his second report negative for COVID-19.”

Charges capped

The Manipur government issued an order on May 28 capping the rate for COVID-19 testing at government hospitals at ₹160 and at private hospitals at ₹350. According to media reports, however, private hospitals are charging between ₹1,800 and ₹1,600for the tests. For home collection of samples, instances of ₹2500 being charged were also reported.

The government issued another order with a modification to the charges on June 1. The private hospitals are yet to implement the new rates.

It is also alleged that private hospitals do not issue cash receipts for the tests. A 50-year-old man said, “Since no receipt was issued, we cannot get justice from the authorities.”

Mr. Maisnam said, “The Allahabad High Court ruled that it was no less than genocide for COVID-19 patients to die due to oxygen shortage. The Kerala government has announced a COVID-19 stimulus package of ₹2,800 crore to tackle the health emergency and ₹8,900 crore for disbursal directly to the people facing loss of livelihood. Manipur needs some firm steps in this direction.”

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