As dengue cases increase in Nepal, labs are found to be charging price for the dengue test as per their whim. While some hospitals are charging Rs 500 per test, others are charging up to Rs 2620 per test.
According to a lab technician from National Public Health Laboratory, the cost per test should be around Rs 500, including all test kits. However, even National Public Health Lab is charging Rs 800 per test.
Bir Hospital and Sukraraj Tropical Hospital are charging Rs 500 for the test. Meanwhile, private hospitals including Sumeru Hospital is charging Rs 2425, Grande Hospital Rs 2620 and Star Hospital is charging Rs 1800.
As per experts, dengue virus can only be controlled if the testing cost are made affordable. “Even though many people are showing symptoms, they have not done tests due to expensive cost,” Former Director of Epidemiology and Disease Control Division Dr Baburam Marasini said.
Nevertheless, private hospitals claim that the test fee is charged on the basis of quality. “We use American testing kits so the charge is a bit high. The cost can be reduced if Indian kits are used,” said an official from a private hospital.
Spokesperson of the Ministry of Health and Population Dr. Sanjay Kumar Thakur said the high price for dengue tests is not appropriate and a committee has been formed to regulate the price of the dengue test.
Even during COVID-19 pandemic, test charges weren’t regulated by the government and some hospitals were charging more than Rs 6000, initially.
Currently, there are more than 16,500 dengue cases while 20 people have died from the same.