Private labs offer test at lower cost

By Dilanthi Jayamanne

Private medical laboratory technologists say they could help bring down the cost of medical tests for non-communicable diseases if the government invited them.

President of the Sri Lanka Society for Medical Laboratory Science (SLSMLS) Ravi Kumudesh said yesterday that locally qualified private medical lab practitioners were willing to form a network, with support from the Health Ministry, to perform blood sugar tests for Rs. 50 and cholesterol tests for Rs. 40.

Kumudesh said that private lab charges for those tests ranged from Rs. 100 to Rs. 800 or even more. A majority of the private lab practitioners worked in rural areas or suburbs. Implementing a cost effective programme would be of tremendous help to the ordinary people, he said.

The Ministry would have to support private lab practitioners by recognizing them and directing patients to them when the need arose.

The SLSMLS, in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Society of Private Medical Laboratory Practitioners, the Gym Association and Sports Medical Unit of the Sports Ministry, will host special programmes countrywide. "We want the Health Ministry to re-think its strategy on controlling NCDs," Kumudesh said. People should also be encouraged to change their lifestyles, especially their eating habits. Most youth were more concerned about body building than physical fitness while elderly groups lacked exercise due to busy schedules and careless attitudes, Kumudesh added.

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