MMA claims private lab doing drive-through swab tests, calls for probe

The Malaysian Medical Association says unlicensed labs may fail to inform the health ministry of Covid-19-positive cases.

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) has called on the health ministry to investigate a private laboratory allegedly conducting drive-through swab tests, a practice not encouraged under Covid-19 protocol.

MMA president Dr Subramaniam Muniandy said laboratories were not classified as a private healthcare facility and should not be allowed to provide Covid-19 screening services as it could contribute to logistical problems.

Subramaniam was responding to a previous FMT report, where a woman named Miss Yong and her family of six had not received a call from the health ministry, or the lab they obtained their test results from, days after testing positive.

“According to the health ministry, Covid-19 tests by the private sector can only be carried out at a private medical clinic, ambulatory care centre, or a private hospital.

“From the media report on Miss Yong’s case, we can see that proper protocol on the handling of a confirmed Covid-19 case was ignored,” he said in a statement.

Subramaniam said this was possibly the reason why the district health office was unaware of the family’s health status, which made it difficult for an ambulance to be arranged to pick them up for further treatment.

He said it was the responsibility of private healthcare facilities to report any positive cases to the district health office and ensure that arrangements were made to transport them to the hospital, or for the patients to receive information from the health ministry.

Subramaniam urged the health ministry to explain why they allowed a laboratory to conduct the swab tests as private healthcare facilities have to receive approval before carrying out screenings for Covid-19.

“Better coordination is also urgently needed between government hospitals and the district health office as cases of Covid-19 have been consistently high and may rise further,” he said.


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