In Karachi, only a handful of hospitals are providing test and treatment services to suspected cases
The World Health Organisation on Wednesday declared the coronavirus as pandemic, while countries are busy in efforts to contain the virus it has taken over 4,000 live and infected over 120,000 people.
In Pakistan, Sindh remains the most affected province with 15 out of 21 cases. Of the initial 15 cases, the tally dropped to 13 on Thursday after Sindh chief minister's law adviser, Murtaza Wahab, announced that two of the coronavirus patients had recovered.
In Karachi, only a handful of hospitals are providing test and treatment services to suspected cases.
Currently, only the Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH) and Dow University Hospital have the capability to conduct the tests, while other medical facilities send the samples to these two for testing.
The Dow diagnostic lab in Karachi's Scheme 33, Gulzar-e-Hijri neighbourhood is also among those places providing test services.
It is to be noted that when the hospital receives a suspected case, they will proceed for test only after contacting the health department and getting a green signal.
The test will cost around Rs7,900 and involve Molecular Polymerase chain reaction method (multiplying a small amount of DNA for molecular analyses). The kits used will be molecular RNA-based.
The sample will be taken by a nasopharyngeal swab.
For treatment, the patients can also go for Civil Hospital Karachi (Dr Ruth K. M. Pfau Civil Hospital) in Saddar.
The AKUH is also providing test and treatment services at the cost of Rs7,900. The screening test costs around Rs2,200 whereas the PCR test costs Rs6,000.
The test reportedly takes 24 hours for the results.
In a statement, AKUH Senior Manager Patient Business Services Hassan Somani said if a patient comes through the government screening process, most expenses are taken care of by the government.
“If someone comes for the test without a referral, then they must cover the charges themselves. Still, The Aga Khan University Hospital offers welfare to deserving individuals,” Somani added.
The Radiological and Diagnostic Imaging Centre will also carry out the test by taking a nasopharyngeal swab.
Advanced Laboratories (Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Block 15)
The lab, situated in Karachi’s east division, also has a testing facility where it carries out Molecular RNA-based and antibody-based tests on IgM and IgG, with sample from throat swab. The cost of the test is Rs6000.
Situated in Block 5, Clifton, the hospital is not taking any suspected cases.
The helpline to call for suspected cases in Sindh is: 021-99204405, 021-99206565, 021-99203443, 021-99204405, 0316-0111712
Earlier, CM Sindh Murad Ali Shah said an Emergency Control Room has also been established at Commissioner House Karachi to deal with any unanticipated situation.