There was a shortage of rapid antigen test (RAT) kits in state hospitals and it was not only affecting the detection of COVID cases but also delaying the essential medical procedures including surgeries, College of Medical Laboratory Science (CMLS) President, Ravi Kumudesh told The Island yesterday (27).

The Medical Supplies Division at the Ministry of Health had failed to provide adequate amounts of test kits to government hospitals and the shortage that began in December had reached a critical level. Kumudesh said.

“Units established to deal with Malaria and Filaria still meet stakeholders on a regular basis to discuss strategy. However, there is no such mechanism for COVID-19. Maybe senior health officers believe that COVID no longer poses a threat,” he said.

Kumudesh said that Colombo National Hospital, National Hospital – Kandy, Ratnapura Teaching Hospital, Ampara, Karapitiya, Peradeniya, Batticaloa and Trincomalee hospitals had stopped rapid antigen tests at hospital premises due to the shortage of test kits.

“Hospitals used to test patients who come for medical procedures and surgeries. Thus, this shortage affects all aspects of health, not only COVID control,” he said.

Attempts to contact Deputy Director General of Health Services, Dr. Hemantha Herath for comment failed.


(The Island)