The health department of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa was advised on Tuesday to equip the private laboratories with the required kits for diagnosing the dengue virus.
According to the Peshawar High Court bench, the measure should be taken in the provincial capital to ensure uniformity in charges for these tests.
Unwillingness of Private Labs
The director general of health services informed that in accordance with the directions received by the high court, he held meetings with private companies to discuss a uniform rate for dengue tests.
However, his meetings ended with disagreements from private companies which showed unwillingness to do so.
He further added that the required kit for testing dengue costs Rs 320, contrary to the claim of private laboratories that its costs Rs 700.
Warning Issued Against Extortionate Test Charges
In order to prevent private laboratories from charging patients outrageously high rates for dengue tests, Justice Younas Taheem and Justice Qaiser Rasheed warned lab employees that strict action may be taken in case of unfair implication of charges.
Justice Qaiser stated that if needed, the high court will appoint a committee in order to ascertain that the labs do not try to make unjustified profits.
Private laboratories retaliated by explaining that the quality equipment required for testing dengue adds to the price of the test, costing them Rs 700. They also added that they were using a kit more costly than that used by the health department.
However, they ensured that given the appropriate kit required for the test, they would decrease the cost of the test to Rs 320.
Eradication of Dengue
Oct 31 has been fixed as the date for the next hearing in order to finalize the petition of the lawyer Saifullah Muhib Kakakhel.
The petition seeks orders from the health secretary, provincial government, Peshawar deputy commissioner, and local government secretary to take immediate action to eradicate dengue from Peshawar.
The court was requested by the petitioner to immediately implement preventive and curative measures.
The health department too was prompted by the bench to present a report regarding the prevalent dengue situation in the province, especially Peshawar and another report on the facilitation of testing kits.
Justice Qaiser’s Deep Concerns
While the focus of private laboratories remains upon attaining profits, Justice Qaiser shared his deep concern regarding the situation in the province pertaining to dengue.
He shared that the grave situation of the province requires the support of private laboratories rather than their retaliation.
Syed Sikandar Shah – the advocate general, claimed that due to preventive measures taken by the government, dengue remains confined within a small area of the province, without spreading to the provincial capital.
He added that while a campaign for public health awareness is in progress, the government has also ensured spraying the city to prevent the spread of dengue.
Mr. Shah said that the health department has been visiting different areas and under government health facilities free medical treatment has been provided to dengue patients.
Free blood screening has also been offered by government hospitals offered service.