The Colonial War Memorial Hospital is grappling with a significant challenge as its cervical cancer sample testing machine has been malfunctioning since December last year.
With over 1,400 samples awaiting testing, CWM’s Medical Laboratory Scientist, Navneeta Nair, says doctors and nurses have been advised against collecting additional samples until the machine is operational.
The malfunction has raised concerns about the urgent need for a replacement.
Nair adds currently, there is no specific timeframe outlined for the procurement of a new machine.
“All we have been told is this is in the procurement plan of the government and we’ll have to wait for the next budget. So probably this year, by July or August they will give a budget and then this machine will be purchased. But it will probably take about three to four months.”
Nair highlights the unique role of CWM as the sole hospital conducting these crucial tests, receiving samples from all divisions.
Health Minister Dr. Atonio Lalabalavu says talks are underway to find an alternative method for testing.
“The Ministry is talking with the staff at the CWM on how best it can look at alternate testing facilities to test the backlog of cases.”
The situation highlights the immediate need for a resolution to ensure the timely testing of samples and the continuation of essential cervical cancer screening services.