Among the many wonders of the 21st century, the remarkable revolution in diagnostic testing stands out in the healthcare sector. Most sensitive reagent kits, machines that can process hundreds of samples at a time, and highly skilled technicians at work have completely changed the dynamics of laboratory testing. Things are certainly not how they used to be in the past! Unfortunately, the shine and sheen of a laboratory are affordable for only a few in our society. The social class difference doesn’t allow many of our fellow society members to enjoy access to world-class but expensive diagnostic testing facilities. The gap between underprivileged patients and diagnostic testing is somewhat abridged by free medical camps which provide point-of-care testing services. It is their role that forms the subject matter of this discussion as well.
Point of care testing: An overview
First things first, let us recap the concept of point of care testing. Well, any medical diagnostic test that is conducted at or near the time and place of a patient falls under the category of point of care testing. The concept is a revolutionary one since it provides an opportunity to get tested anywhere instead of being bound to give your specimen at a particular testing facility. The freedom that point of care testing provides is well leveraged by organizations that are big on conducting free medical camps in slums, rural and remote areas. It is pertinent to mention here that point-of-care tests are simple medical tests that can be performed with ease at the patient’s bedside.
Which type of diagnostic tests are performed at a medical camp?
Linking to the previous section, the nature of diagnostic tests performed at a medical camp is simple. Well, when we say simple, we are not being forgetful of the fact that for centuries, these tests were performed using extremely complicated protocols. It is only after the development of complex diagnostic and biomedical technologies that these tests can be literally performed anywhere. Coming back towards the point, commonly performed diagnostic tests include malarial antigen detection detects, hepatitis tests, cholesterol level tests, renal functioning tests, blood pressure check-ups, and certain blood tests which are performed for profiling the blood cell levels. Of course, not every medical camp features all these tests, the set of diagnostic facilities may vary from camp to camp.
Why medical camps are crucial in making diagnostic testing more accessible?
We have mentioned earlier that in countries where the government doesn’t have enough resources to provide uniform access to rights to all of its citizens, social classes with sharp contrast prevail. In such a scenario where the state has to make ugly compromises on its citizens’ rights, the onus of burden falls predominantly on the civil society, NGO and INGO. Free medical camps providing basic diagnostic testing services are a fine example of this fact. These organizations quell the fear of expenses that haunts every poor patient’s mind while providing quality services at the same time. Also, the more free diagnostic tests are performed in remote and rural areas, the increased are the chances of profiling the healthcare status of areas that are still deprived of state-run labs and testing facilities.
No compromises must be made on quality assurance!
At this point in the discussion, it is pertinent to mention that while the role of free medical camps in bridging the patient-testing gap is certainly a commendable one, there can be no compromise on the standard operating procedures. Only premium quality, certified from third-party testing kits and reagents must be used while conducting such diagnostic tests. Just because the patients undergoing these tests hail from an underprivileged background doesn’t justify the use of substandard machinery, equipment, and reagents in testing. If a compromise is made on quality assurance, a surge in false positives and negatives can be expected, which will render the entire effort futile.
A bit about Transparent Hands
One organization that makes no compromises on quality assurance is Transparent Hands. But before we talk about the free medical camps set up by the organization, let us brief you a bit about the organization itself. Transparent Hands is the largest technological platform for crowdfunding in the healthcare sector of Pakistan. It offers a complete range of free healthcare services including medical and surgical treatments, medical camps, and telehealth facilities to the underprivileged community of Pakistan. The platform provides visibility to underprivileged patients and builds a personal and trusted bond between patients and donors while ensuring complete transparency. It also sets up free medical camps in the rural areas of Pakistan in which, free medical consultation, free medicines, and free diagnostic tests are provided to deserving patients.
So far, the organization has successfully organized 78 medical camps all across Pakistan. In these medical camps, 23,220 patients have been treated. For the year 2021, the organization has set a goal of 60 free medical camps. All the diagnostic tests which we mentioned earlier are offered at Transparent Hands medical camps. If you want to be a part of the Transparent Hands’ free diagnostic tests initiative, all that you have to do is donate as much as you can to a medical camp of your choice. Donors from all over the world can use the Transparent Hands crowdfunding web portal and donate through 100% secure payment modes. They could select any patient, fund the treatment and receive regular feedback and updates until the patient has recovered completely. You can find the schedule of upcoming medical camps listed on the organization’s website under the Medical Camps tab.
“More tests” is the chant that we became too accustomed to in the year 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But if you think about it, more diagnostic tests are a need of the hour with regards to pretty much every deadly disease or malady that can be identified via PCR or antibody testing. The upshot of all this discussion? More and more organizations have to come forward and play their part if Pakistan is to map its patient profile accurately in years to come!