Nagaland DH&FW on transfer, BSL lab and Truenat Test

Morung Express News
Kohima | June 2

Clearing an ongoing confusion, the H&FW Minister S Pangnyu Phom today clarified that the lab to be set up in Tuensang is BSL-2 and not 3.

“We'll see whether it can be upgraded to BSL-3,” he added addressing a an impromptu press conference along with the officials from the Department of Health and Family Welfare (DH&FW) at the BJP state office, Kohima.

On the recent transfer of the Principal Secretary of the Department, Pangnyu clarified that the official in question was only holding additional charge of Health and Family Welfare.

 "It was filled up by a new Principal Secretary only today," he maintained. 

Pangnyu also assured that the COVID-19 positive patients are all in stable condition. "I contacted patients personally and as per their report, they are stable. For the retest there are protocols. So according to the protocol, retest will be conducted."

On a question raised by a journalist on whether the government has specialised workforce to operate the lab, NHM Mission Director, Dr Kevichüsa Medikhru replied that it was another challenge for the department.  

 “BSL labs will require specialised professionals to operate, which is also another challenge,” he said.

“In Kohima, we were fortunate to get four scientists who are already trained and have experiences in ICMR working in BSL labs outside our state. With the experience, the ICMR could immediately certify that we can run the lab. But coming to Tuensang, the challenge is manpower,” stated Dr Medikhru. 

However, in the case of Dimapur, the official assured that there will not be much problem as the CIHSR establishment has enough specialised professionals to make it functional. 


20 Truenat machines in the offing 

With Truenat testing machines being in high demand in all districts, it was informed that the Government has ‘already decided on 20 Truenat.’ 

The official said that Tuensang will be one of the first to receive according to the availability. 

"We are going for a higher version of Truenat. One machine may be able to do 40 tests. If we are able to avail all the 20, the load should be sufficient for us," said Dr Medikhru, adding, "We still need to get a pace to go faster. We want every returnee tested."

The Department officials also noted that Truenat can also be used for detecting other viruses and can be operated by lab technicians with proper guidelines. 

Media persons further raised questions on the number of quarantine centres in Nagaland to which the officials stated, "We don't have the exact figure." The medical officials also stated that the private hospitals are coming in voluntarily and trying to help. 

On PPEs, Dr Medikhru stated “I think we have good qualities now. There is grading of PPEs. Some working in sweeping and cleaning having different PPEs, some involved in laboratories have different PPEs and doctors and nurses directly in contact with COVID-19 positive patients have different PPE for which we have a lot of good quality,” he added.