Concern launches coronavirus screening booths in Bangladesh

The coronavirus sample booth in Bangladesh
The coronavirus sample booth in Bangladesh

Concern has built cutting-edge digital booths in Bangladesh to help increase the country’s capacity to test and screen people for coronavirus.

The booths will be a one-stop shop for screening and sample collection. Following a video consultation with a local doctor, patients with symptoms of Covid-19 will be directed to a sample collection booth - and within 48 hours, they will receive results and relevant medical advice.

The booth is a free service and will be open six days a week, with the capacity to collect up to 150 samples a day. If the initiative is successful, it has the potential to be scaled up across the country – particularly in more rural areas where there is a shortage of doctors and medical facilities.

Concern launched this innovative project in collaboration with a global consortium including Digital Healthcare Solutions, the Institute for Developing Science and Health Initiatives, Mugda Medical College & Hospital and the Essential Healthcare for the Disadvantaged Programme (EHD). The project is receiving financial assistance from UK Aid and being implemented under the guidance of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

A patient takes a sample test for coronavirus
A patient takes a sample test for coronavirus
A patient consults with a doctor via video call
A patient consults with a doctor via video call
A close-up of the sample booth
A close-up of the sample booth
Patients wait in a socially distant waiting room to be tested
Patients wait in a socially distant waiting room to be tested

When launching the booth on Thursday, Saber Hossain Chowdhury, an Honorary Member of Parliament of Dhaka-9 and Chairman of the Mugda General Hospital Management Committee said:

This venture is a solid example of multi-sectoral engagement and partnership where the Government, development partners, the private sector and foundations have all come together to respond to Covid-19. This initiative leverages innovation, technology and learning from other countries to ensure an inclusive approach.

Saber Hossain Chowdhury - Chairman of the Mugda General Hospital Management Committee

Fahmida Shabnam, Human Development Team Leader of DFID Bangladesh, said that this initiative could help the Government of Bangladesh improve its efficiency and effectiveness of sample collection and rapidly scale up testing. She added that the project is an “important component” of the UK Government’s commitment to support quality healthcare for everyone in Bangladesh.

Hasina Rahman, Country Director of Concern in Bangladesh said, “This is an important part of the wider, national level Covid-19 response that Concern Worldwide is implementing in partnership with the Government and partners. We suspect that the real figure of those with Covid-19 is much higher across the country, but there is a lack of tracking. That is another gap that these new booths are attempting to fill.”

“Our response is fully aligned with the Covid-19 Bangladesh National Preparedness and Response Plan and we are glad that we have been able to step up during this unprecedented crisis and support the government”, she added.

Should this initiative prove successful, we hope to expand the booths to other parts of the country, focusing particularly on helping poor communities in rural, hard to reach areas of Bangladesh.

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