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Ministry wants rapid antigen tests put into wider use nationwide

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Rapid Antigen Tests for Covid-19. Yousos Apdoulrashim

Ministry wants rapid antigen tests put into wider use nationwide

The Ministry of Health has suggested that all public hospitals use Rapid Antigen Tests for Covid-19 on general patients and while providing emergency services to ensure safe delivery of health care.

In a letter dated May 8, health minister Mam Bun Heng said the ministry had noted that Covid-19 is now widespread and all hospital directors should pay attention to implementing prevention measures to control infections while providing medical services to people in public hospitals.

"In order to increase the health service’s efficiency and ensure regularity in public hospitals, the ministry would like to recommend that all hospitals use rapid antigen tests for Covid-19 to isolate patients if necessary,” he stated.

Bun Heng continued that hospitals must prepare additional separate rooms to provide emergency treatment, surgery and maternity services that are up to technical standards to support patients who are positive for Covid-19 in a responsible manner and without discrimination.

These services should be provided until non-Covid-19 health issues the patient is having are resolved before referring them to the Covid-19 treatment facilities set up by the health ministry.

"Hospitals must continue to ensure the sustainability of essential health services for all patients who come to their facilities," he said.

Heng Kim Ean, director of Srey Santhor district referral hospital in Kampong Cham province, told The Post on May 9 that his district now has 35 rapid Covid-19 test kits.

The health department in Kampong Cham province has already received training on how to administer these tests, but these samples must also be tested again with a PCR to be certain as to whether they are positive or negative for Covid-19.

"Using the rapid tests is a quick and convenient strategy and also allows us to reduce transmission if we get fast results. Testing with a PCR takes 72 hours to get the results, but with a quick test we know in 15 minutes," he said.

"I think it is a good thing that we have this method, and it should be required for private health services to have as well," said Kim Ean.

Kim Ean said this rapid test kit tests one person at a time and can utilise samples taken from their nose and throat or even blood samples, but now in Cambodia only samples from the nose are being taken.

On May 7, Cambodia Airways Co Ltd successfully transported rapid Covid-19 test kits and a large amount of related medical equipment from Changi Airport International (CAI) in Singapore to Phnom Penh International Airport, it said in an announcement.

"This is the first time that Cambodia Airways has transported anti-Covid-19 medical equipment to Cambodia since our transition from passenger flights to carrying cargo," the airline’s statement said.

The current pandemic situation in Cambodia is still serious and the government has ordered rapid Covid-19 test kits and other medical equipment helpful against Covid-19 from Singapore, with plans to spend more on medical equipment to help those afflicted by the current epidemic.

"This is an important task for the country and the mission has been successfully completed. During this outbreak, Cambodia Airways was booked for three flights in a row to transport supplies as quickly as possible and we were able to successfully complete the flight missions," said Cambodia Airways.

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