With the cost of testing for H1N1 being out of the reach of
most people, Karnataka Minister for Health and Family Welfare U.T. Khader directed
officials at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences to
conduct tests for free.
NIMHANS is the only government facility that will test
samples from across the State.
The minister said that the State had a stock of 400 testing
kits, which would be provided to NIMHANS. "Both patients from private and
government hospitals can get the test done for free," he said.
However, Mr. Khader clarified that the testing should be
done only for patients who have symptoms of uncontrolled fever, respiratory
problem and are hospitalised.
Category B patients who have uncontrolled fever would be put
on treatment and given anti-viral capsule, but would not require testing. Karnataka
39 new positive cases in the State on Thursday.
This takes the number of cases to 183, while the death toll
in the State stands at 15. Private testing lab owners, who charge Rs. 5,000 per
test, said that they would reduce the rate for patients from lower economic
backgrounds. "Now that the numbers of cases are increasing rapidly, we will
consider reducing the cost of the test," an owner said.