Slow COVID-19 Sample Testing, Govt: Human Resource Shortage

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Markus Wisnu Murti

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  • The Chief of the COVID-19 Handling Acceleration Task Force and the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), Doni Monardo. ANTARA/Nova Wahyudi

    The Chief of the COVID-19 Handling Acceleration Task Force and the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), Doni Monardo. ANTARA/Nova Wahyudi

    TEMPO.CO, JakartaDoni Monardo, the head of the national COVID-19 handling task force, clarified that the delay in the sample testing was not due to a lack of medical devices, but rather a shortage in human resources in laboratories.

    “So far, the obstacle [in COVID-19 testing] is that human resources in each laboratory are not optimal yet. The number of personnel is limited, while reagents and test kits are sufficient,” said Doni after a meeting with the President on Monday, May 4.

    Doni reiterated that the government had procured more than 420,000 PCR reagents to detect coronavirus infection. Last night, a total of 500,000 Viral Transport Medium (VTM) and RNA extracts had also arrived, bringing the total number of VTM reagents and RNA extracts to 1 million this week. 

    “So the government’s order to conduct mass testing in 59 laboratories can be carried out more optimally,” he added.

    Two weeks ago, President Jokowi instructed the task force to hold 10,000 PCR tests a day. In reality, only some 6,000-7,000 tests can be done daily.

    “It’s not because of a lack of reagents, but the number of our laboratory personnel is limited. They can only work for 8 hours, not 24 hours,” Doni remarked.

    Therefore, the government was calling for help from the Indonesian Medical Association (IDI) in regional laboratories to bring in more personnel, hoping over 12,000 tests can be done per day, Doni Monardo concluded.

    DEWI NURITA