Maitri Porecha

Staff Writer, The Ken • India Edition

Maitri writes about everything health for The Ken. For close to 10 years now, she has navigated hospital corridors in her search for a good story. In a past life, when she was not a journalist, she used to teach French at her neighbourhood school. Also an avid fan of forensics, she is always up for decoding mysteries in her free time.

2 Articles published

Top Comments by Maitri Porecha

India's 49 million Covid tests hide more than they reveal

Hi Akshay, we haven't discussed CBNAAT (employed in district hospitals) or it's homegrown version Truenat (which works in non temperature control settings, and hence is easier to employ in primary health centre set ups, right up til the grassroots separately. However because it is the same RTPCR technology, we have considered the data added in RTPCR numbers, at least for Kerala which does provide all break ups. At this point CBNAAT and Truenat primarily are employed with TB programme and are being diverted in pandemic testing. Also, they are limited in number at this point in government and some private set ups.

Maitri Porecha

India's 49 million Covid tests hide more than they reveal

Hi Anshul, of course RAT kits are important from a public health perspective in a country as big and developing as India. RTPCR tests in private settings are expensive and unaffordable for most in India. They are unaffordable in the first go, let alone repeat testing. Also, access to RTPCR is a huge issue in Tier 2 towns onwards. Most samples are being sent back to bigger cities for processing. RAT kits also make sense from the epidemiological perspective, however what our story questions is the way the testing processes are implemented, apart from due diligence on quality of testing in the first place.

Maitri Porecha

India's 49 million Covid tests hide more than they reveal

Hi Nikunj, I think you have gotten this wrong. You must go and read the sixth iteration of the ICMR testing strategy here - https://www.icmr.gov.in/pdf/covid/strategy/Testing_Strategy_v6_04092020.pdf // along with June 14 antigen testing advisory - https://www.icmr.gov.in/pdf/covid/strategy/Advisory_for_rapid_antigen_test14062020.pdf // Having said that, I would also like to add that if a rapid antigen test gives a positive result, it is considered COVID positive, but if it yields a negative result, a repeat antigen or RTPCR test is required, according to the strategy for symptomatics. I would say if anyone you know develops symptoms, straight up book the more accurate RTPCR test. Stay safe from misinformation!

Maitri Porecha

India's 49 million Covid tests hide more than they reveal

Thank you Subash for writing in to us. Your comment is insightful, in the light of ICMR's cost break up presentation shared with the media. We have pointed out in the story, that the narrative of cost break up that ICMR has presented is not as simple as it seems. ICMR must sit down with the industry to chalk out granular costing details and make those details public, because it has a spill over effect on out of pocket expenditure for the patients, especially in private settings.

Maitri Porecha

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