Most people in the country’s four southern border provinces, including local hospitals, have rejected the Chinese-made Lepu rapid antigen test kits (ATKs), despite the continuing COVID-19 surge in the region, claimed the Rural Doctor Society of Thailand (RDS).
In its Facebook post today (Friday), the RDS said that the National Health Security Office (NHSO), which had procured 8.5 million Lepu ATKs from China at a cost of about one billion baht, have delivered a total of 1,022,500 of them to Yala, Pattani, Narathiwat and Songkhla for free distribution to the public and health facilities, but only 141,988 units, or 14%, were received by people at high-risk who have mild symptoms or who are in close contact with the infected.
Of the 141,988 distributed, the results of only 17,135 were returned through the “Pao Tang” app, with only 397 positive results, representing 2.3% of the ATKs distributed.
The society said it believes most of the people who have used the free tests have not returned the results because it is negative, and they would register the positive result to enter the health care system.
It noted, however, that the 2.3% positive results may not reflect the reality of the COVID-19 situation in the provinces.
Had the Lepu test kits been accurate, most of them should have been received by the people and not left in storage, said the RDS, adding that local hospitals would not have bought their own ATKs.
“Hence, we have missed the opportunity to curb the disease in the region,” said the society.
The RDS raised objections to the NHSO’s plan to procure the ATKs, manufactured by Beijing Lepu Medical Technology, through the Government Pharmaceutical Organization, from the very beginning due to their questionable accuracy and allegedly sub-standard manufacture.
Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)