Despite the fact that diagnostic and pathology labs are mushrooming across the country, patients still have to suffer when availing their services.
Their woes mount not only because of the high charges, but also because of the substandard equipment and chemicals they use which often result in wrong or inaccurate test reports. The test reports vary from one lab to another, which hampers diagnosis and proper treatment.
The long-awaited National Institute of Laboratory Medicine and Referral Centre at Sher-E-Bangla Nagar in the capital has finally come into play to control and monitor these errant diagnostic centres.
If anyone doubts the accuracy of a lab test report, the person can refer it to the National Institute of Laboratory Medicine and Referral Centre. The institute will assess the report to see if it is correct, and if necessary, it will retest the patient, said its Director Prof Dr Abul Khair Mohammad Shamsuzzaman.
It will also establish a countrywide network to ensure quality of laboratory services, he added.
The institute will also facilitate manpower training in laboratory medicine, and will provide accreditation for diagnostic labs.
Furthermore, the institute will provide pathology services and offer graduate and post-graduate courses along with conducting various research activities.
In line with being a referral centre, the institute, which was established on January 21 this year, will carry out all kinds of tests at a charge fixed by the government to check for any disease as well.
Eight departments including Haematology, Microbiology and Biochemistry are now in operation. The other departments will start functioning in July this year.
At present the National Institute of Laboratory Medicine is carrying out pathology tests on a small scale in their 12-storey building, the construction of which has not been completed yet.
Necessary equipment has been set up at different floors. The building has not officially been handed over to the institute as yet.
The institute has a high-tech automated machine to identify microbes that have infected the blood of a particular patient. A next-generation sequencing machine has also been set up. Three types of tests will be done to crosscheck a cancer test report.
Prof Dr Rashid-E-Mahbub, president of the Health Rights Movement, told The Business Standard, "Treatment based on a wrong diagnostic report results in wrong treatment. In this case, there is no alternative to monitoring."
The activities of diagnostic centres have to be monitored so that people do not fall victim to wrong treatment based on the wrong diagnostic report, he added.
And this institute can solve this problem, said Prof Dr Rashid-E-Mahbub.
In 2010, the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council approved a project by the health ministry to establish the national institute for laboratory medicine within a three-year deadline. The Directorate General of Health Services started the project the same year. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the project in October 2018 after its deadline was extended several times.