Ramping up our testing efforts

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It is important that we equip more health institutions with the right capacity

It is encouraging to see that Bangladesh is slowly ramping up testing for Covid-19, but we still remain a long way behind.

With worldwide deaths over 100,000, and with there being no respite to the steady increase, the Covid-19 pandemic continues to be utterly unforgiving.

Bangladesh is no different, and the month of April has seen a rapid increase in the number of cases and deaths — from only 51 cases until the end of March, cases have jumped to 424 as of April 10.

While it is true that the increase in the number of cases is related to the increased testing, it is unfortunate that we remain in the dark regarding the overall scenario in the country when it comes to the novel coronavirus.

Testing is still in extremely limited capacity — particularly outside of the capital city — and as health practitioners across the globe have repeatedly stated, the best strategy is to test as many people as possible to get the best possible scenario and make decisions accordingly moving forward.

To that end, we must make a concerted effort to test more people. Even if a country such as Bangladesh does not allow for us to test everyone, at a bare minimum, this means increasing our current testing capabilities to several thousand a day.

Therefore, it is important that we equip more health institutions with the right capacity and provisions to carry out testing, and extend this capacity outside the capital, so that we can also get a better picture of the rest of Bangladesh.

We currently have one of the lowest testing-to-population ratios in the world. It is time we changed that, and learned more about how to combat this pandemic moving forward.