Bengaluru: The Covid-19 testing centre at the Public Health Centre, Magadi Road, Bengaluru was inaugurated by Deputy Chief Minister Dr C N Ashwath Narayan in the presence of former KPCC president Dinesh Gundu Rao, BBMP Commissioner Manjunatha Prasad, and Joint Commissioner, West Zone, BBMP Chidanand.
In addition to this facility, three more testing labs are being set up at Sreerampuram, Gangondanahalli and Jagjeevan Ram Nagar hospitals. These primary health centres are the lifeline for Covid-19 and other health-related support to the most vulnerable communities in the west zone largely living in slums and informal settlements working mostly as daily wage labourers, construction workers, street vendors, garment workers and pourakarmikas and domestic workers.
The testing centre is equipped with a TrueNat machine which has been approved for the use of Coronavirus screening. The samples of the throat and the nasal swab collected by the trained technicians is used for testing and results can be obtained in 30-60 minutes. TrueNat is portable, designed primarily to work at remote locations, and considered as ‘last mile diagnostics’. In addition to Covid-19, this machine can also be used to test for tuberculosis (TB), dengue, chikungunya, rabies, H1N1, malaria, and several other pathogens.
This initiative is supported by the Azim Premji Foundation which is committed to supporting the government’s effort on managing the Covid-19 pandemic. Azim Premji Foundation is working at various levels – increasing tertiary hospital capacity, especially ICU and oxygenated beds, expanding and setting up Covid-19 testing facilities, apart from support in training, communication and data management, with a wide network of NGO partners across the city on the front lines in supporting over 12 lakh marginalized communities on Covid-19.
Three such partners, CFAR (Centre for Action and Research), Action Aid and Mercy Mission are working with over 350 dedicated staff and volunteers to build awareness and addressing fear and stigma, persuading communities to get tested as per the government guidelines and facilitating the same through testing camps conducted with the help of the PHC, tracking of those at risk, facilitating testing and, providing information on and access to quarantine and isolation facilities and post-recovery support through counselling and also access to dry ration kit as per BBMP provision.
Speaking on the occasion Hon’ble DCM Dr C N Ashwath Narayan said, “The Public Health Centre’s (PHC) are a critical component of our battle against Covid-19. This facility will enhance our capacity to perform testing and deliver quicker results thereby enabling faster isolation and containment. Our whole machinery is working non-stop for the last many months to support families in accessing quality health care at all levels. I appeal to all of you to stay calm and without fear. This is a global pandemic and the Government of Karnataka is fully equipped to handle this crisis. Please follow the guidelines for testing and quarantine as prescribed and co-operate with government authorities.”
Anurag Behar, CEO of Azim Premji Foundation said, “We have been at the forefront in the battle against this pandemic supporting governments and communities across the country including Karnataka. We are working in close coordination with the Government of Karnataka with a deep engagement on all fronts in Bengaluru city which has seen a surge in Covid-19 cases. The government has been working relentlessly to address the various aspects of this pandemic and we are committed in this effort with special focus on the most marginalized who are facing humanitarian and health crisis.”