A couple of NGOs have joined hands to launch a chain of diagnostic laboratories on a 'no profit, on loss' basis to offer services at least 65% less price, compared to other laboratories.
Dr B H Manjunath, promoter of DRM Labs said that the initiative is to make all tests, except radiological investigations, affordable to the people. "It is not that only poor people should come to our labs. All are welcome. If we realise that a particular patient is not in a position to pay even the discounted fee for the tests, we will do it for free. However, initially, there will be resistance from doctors. They may insist on tests and reports from the labs of their choice. But our tests and reports are in no way inferior to any of the highly sophisticated labs in the city or elsewhere," he said.
"Our initiative aims at putting an end to the allegations of the doctors-labs nexus, which are used to defame the medical profession. Tests of blood, urine, sputum, sperm and all samples used in the medical profession for evidence-based investigation are conducted in our labs. Only radiology tests such as X-Ray and scanning are not available. The first lab of the chain has been opened on the premises of HMHMC Ayurveda Hospital at Gokulam 2nd Stage in Mysuru. As I am a resident of the Chamaraja Assembly constituency, four more labs will be opened in this area, while one each will be opened in Krishnaraja and Narasimharaja constituencies," he said.
"DRM Labs are an initiative of 'Kaveri Social Services Trust' and 'I Serve Nation' organizations. These organisations have been conducting blood test from 6 am to 10 am at various places across the city, where joggers and walkers congregate in huge numbers, since over 300 days. Our Mysore Diagnostic Centre (MDC) conducted tests for suspected dengue infection to over 80 patients daily, free of cost, for over three months, when the fever was a menace in the city. As the equipment that is used to test for dengue fever was not functioning in the KR Hospital, we had lent an equipment with lab technicians for four months. In KR Hospital daily 300 patients were benefitted during this four-month duration," he said.
Dr Manjunath said that the labs are a one-time investment, but, a permanent asset to the society. "They are high-end labs with the latest technology. The fee charged on the investigations are sufficient to run the labs successfully. Besides, a corpus fund is established to support the initiative. In future, we have plans to establish similar labs in all taluk headquarters of Mysuru, Kodagu, Hassan, Mandya, and Chamarajanagar districts," he said.