Private lab's two branches sealed for violating SOPs in sample collection.


Byline: Mohammad Hussain Khan

HYDERABAD -- Two branches of a laboratory in Hyderabad were closed by the administration after district health officer (DHO) learnt that a Covid-19 positive patient tested at the lab died and was buried in the city without complying with the prescribed standard operating procedures (SOPs).

Workers of the Karachi-based lab had been collecting samples of suspected Covid-19 patients for the last few days without complying with the SOPs. Its two branches, one in Saddar and the other in Latifabad, were closed, health officials claimed.

The DHO wrote a letter in this regard to the Hyderabad deputy commissioner, who accordingly ordered sealing of the lab's points on Saturday.

According to the DHO's May 2 communication to health secretary, samples of 45 people were collected by lab workers from their homes. Two persons - one a resident of Hyderabad and the other Shaheed Benazirabad district - found positive for coronavirus have since died. Their reports were received after their burial had been performed. Sample of the Shaheed Benazirabad resident was collected here while the patient had left for his home district, according to health officials in Hyderabad.

The Hyderabad resident, a 73-year-old person, lived in the Phulelli area, the officials said, adding that eight samples out of 45 were found positive as per the private lab's reports.

The remaining six were allowed to stay in home isolation.

'Contacts of these six people have also been traced and tested,' said one official.

The DHO's communication to the health secretary stated that preliminary inquiry showed the lab was allowed to carry out its sample collection exercise on the basis of a March 28, 2020 letter of deputy health secretary (public health/technical) Dr Raja Dharejo. But neither the administration nor he (the DHO) was informed by the lab's management for collection of samples from homes, the DHO complained.

He said that the lab did not follow the SOPs during sampling, nor were the suspected coronavirus patients quarantined after their sampling was done as was required under the SOPs.

He said that other people who might have contracted contagion from positive patients were not traced by lab workers. He said that sample collection staff was also unaware of protocols to be followed during sample collection and follow-up. They didn't pay any heed to trace patients after his/her results emerged positive, the DHO stated.

He observed that a copy of the deputy...

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