Cover Story, Current Affairs, Featured, National

ADUN for Bukit Gasing initiates affordable Covid-19 testing for everyone!

Press Statement
24th November 2020

Rajiv Rishyakaran, ADUN Bukit Gasing, announced today that his office has organised COVID-19 testing (Rapid Test Kits-Antigen (RTK-AG) for the public at large, at a reduced-cost of RM70. Currently, the going rate for this test is between RM150 to RM180 at private healthcare facilities. The initiative which began exclusively for Bukit Gasing residents earlier this month has been expanded to include everyone in an effort to bring down the cost of Covid-19 testing, and make the test accessible to the public at large. In addition, B40 category Bukit Gasing residents who are registered under BPN are able to get themselves tested at a subsidised rate of RM30 per person.

“To register for this Covid-19 test, share your details – name, address, IC number and contact number – via WhatsApp to 016 306 4104. Testing will be done by appointment only and details of your appointment will be shared upon successful registration. You may also call 016 306 4104 for enquiries,” shared Rajiv. 

“We have procured the exact same RTK-AG kits from the same vendor as MOH and we are providing these kits to participating clinics. We have negotiated a decent bulk price and thus are able to offer the test to the public at RM70 without subsidy. The doctors conducting the Covid-19 screening with the RTK-AG kits are MOH certified to conduct the test. We are still looking at possibly bringing the price down if and where possible.” 

“Based on the negotiations I’ve had with the supplier of the test kit, I do know that it is possible to do RTK-AG testing nationwide at RM70 for everyone without subsidy, if the government chooses to embark on it. We also know that the pricing can come down even further if these test kits are purchased in a larger volume.” 

 “We understand that even MOH has its limitations when it comes to testing, especially since their primary focus is on close contacts and clusters. However, we have also heard of people who may have had casual contact but who are not tested as they are not deemed a close contact. Even those who had symptoms of Covid-19 but did not have close contact were turned away from government hospitals because they did not meet the criteria for testing. What we are saying is, those who want to be tested or need to be tested should be able to get tested at an affordable price.” 

“Malaysia’s testing rate is now at 76.4 per 1,000 people, with a positive detection rate of 2%. The Ministry of Health is also ramping up its use of the RTK-AG in screenings because of its 90% accuracy rate and fast results within 15 mins. To date, MOH has procured more than 1.1 million RTK-AG test kits for use nationwide to be used in government healthcare facilities.” 

“Third and finally, with the revelation of the actual cost incurred to get these tests done at local clinics, I urge the Ministry of Health to embark on outsourcing the testing work to these clinics which serve as additional resources as we battle a raging pandemic. This would free up scarce and valuable resources at government medical facilities to focus on treating Covid patients, among other things.”

“Apart from bringing affordable Covid-19 testing to the public at large, this exercise gives an opportunity for general practitioners to participate in the war against Covid. It will also help them stay afloat as many of these healthcare professionals have suffered financially since the MCO began.”

“The Malaysian Medical Association recently called on the government to incorporate private healthcare in its fight against Covid-19, as the sector’s capabilities are being underutilised. There are almost 15,000 doctors in the private healthcare sector – they include your neighbourhood clinics, panel clinics, etc – whose expertise is not being utilised. MOH has already procured the test kits, it would not be difficult to engage these clinics like how we are doing now, to help conduct these screenings.” 

“With 168 clusters still active, and new ones still being uncovered, our government healthcare personnel are burning out having fought the pandemic since March. It is time for the Federal Government to engage any parties who are willing to help and expand mass testing by making testing affordable across the board – in private and public healthcare. They should be heading a coordinated nationwide effort involving all parties, regardless of politics, if we hope to bring down the infectivity rate anytime soon,” said Rajiv.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.