Pregnant women not yet tested as per new guidelines

Coronavirus: Bengaluru hospitals yet to test pregnant women as per revised guidelines 

Representative image. (Credit: AFP Photo)

Days after the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) issued guidelines for pregnant women who are five days away from the due date that they have to mandatorily get tested for COVID-19 if residing in clusters/containment areas or in large migration gatherings/evacuee centres in hotspot districts, even if they are asymptomatic, the Karnataka government and private hospitals are yet to start testing. 

For latest updates and live news on coronavirus, click here

There are currently 28 BBMP hospitals (both referral and maternity homes) which are handling deliveries but the civic body is awaiting guidance from the Health Department. Dr Nirmala Buggi, Chief Health Officer (Clinical), BBMP, said, "We initially thought they would test such women with rapid antibody test kits but with the ICMR putting that on hold we are yet to take a call on whether we should send throat swabs of women for PCR testing."

Also read — ICMR advises asymptomatic pregnant women likely to deliver in 5 days to get tested for COVID-19

Dr R Kishore Kumar, Founding Chairman of Cloudnine Group of Hospitals and senior neonatologist at Cloudnine Hospital, Jayanagar, said, "We have bookings from 57 women from red zones in the city across various branches of our hospital group in Bengaluru. But the home collection of samples was seamlessly done by health authorities in our Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai branches but isn't being done in Bengaluru."

"Two private labs are still not operational — Sakra and Vydehi. We have reached out to all others but are still awaiting a response," he added. 

Dr Rajkumar N, Deputy Director, Maternal Health, said, "There are 80,000 deliveries on an average per month in the state. We can't call every woman. Since they have to come to the hospital anyway for delivery, we will test them before delivery." The reproductive and child health wing of the department is currently procuring a list of all women due to deliver from containment zones. The due date of those women registered with hospitals for antenatal checkups is available with respective hospitals.