The Ministry of Public Health says there isn’t any specific data on the number of private hospitals and health centers that will conduct COVID-19 testing where patients will be charged $100 for each test.
The government involved the private sector in the COVID-19 response efforts on Saturday as it announced that it lacks the capacity to test and treat coronavirus patients..
One of the health centers that started COVID-19 tests on Sunday is the City Laboratories in Kabul.
“The $100 cost that we announced for each test is the amount that we spend on each test, ” Rezwanullah Ahmadzai, the head of the center, said.
Another testing center has been established at Blossom Hospital where officials said other hospitals said they will send patients for tests.
The officials of the Blossom Hospital said that they have PCR machines for COVID-19 tests, but TOLOnews reporter Gulabuddin Ghubar says he was not given access to see these devices.
“We are conducting PCR and RNA tests and meanwhile we can diagnose (COVID-19) patients by CT scan and blood tests,” said Mansour Mullahkhil, head of Blossom Hospital.
Kabul residents said that the new decision by the Ministry of Public Health provides the ground for an illegal business.
“it is oppressive for the people, the people who cannot afford the money for their daily food,” said Mohammad Nasir, a Kabul resident.
“This is a trade for hospitals,” said Latif Nazari, a Kabul resident.
According to the Ministry of Public Health, each test for COVID-19 costs $50.
“The Ministry of Public Health predicts that it will take two weeks for hospitals to be ready (for the tests),” said Akmal Samsor, spokesman for the ministry.
This comes as positive cases of coronavirus approaches 25,000 while the deaths are close to 500.