New technology allows fast detection of dengue at Karachi’s Abbasi Shaheed Hospital

  • Posted at: 18 Apr, 2017, in Health


KARACHI:  On a scorching Saturday morning, Muhammad Arsalan took his four-year-old son, Arsalan, to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital. Covered in warm clothes, the boy continued to shiver and had a high body temperature. 


The father told the medical staff that his son has severe body pain and weakness. The patient was taken to the out-patient department of Dr Kamran Ahmed, general physician, where his blood samples were taken and sent to a lab.


Within a couple of minutes, the boy’s blood test report showed that he has dengue.


Diagnosing dengue fever is quite difficult as its symptoms are similar to those of other diseases. However, the latest technology in the hospital makes it easier to detect such diseases.


Arsalan, who works as a computer operator at a garment factory in Korangi, said, “this is the first time in my life I have got the result so early.” He said that he has never seen the device used by hospital’s medical staff before.


Previously, it would take at least two days to diagnose patients with a particular disease. “It was a tough time as you can’t do anything but wait for the result. On the other hand, the doctors also couldn’t start proper treatment as well.”


Explaining the technology, Dr Kamran said that it’s a rapid test kit. The technology, which has been developed by Finnish health care company ISTOC, turns a person’s smart phone into a virtual clinic.


Three-step diagnosis


Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who is the representative of ISTOC in Pakistan, said that the technology can diagnose malaria, dengue, HIV, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C. Separate devices are used for the diagnosis of each disease, he added. 



The disease is diagnosed in three steps. First the blood sample is taken, which is then kept on the specific device. Lastly, the doctors take a picture of the particular devices’ IDR (infectious diseases reader). “Our mobile application will then send the results in minutes,” he added.


ISTOC technology is also available in other countries such as Bangladesh, Africa, Brazil, Nigeria and different parts of the Europe.


Improving healthcare


Abbasi Shaheed Hospital is the only hospital in the country which is using this technology.


 “Initially, we are collaborating with ISTOC for diagnosing dengue, malaria and hepatitis to find out how effective the device is,” said Senior Director Health Service of Karachi Metropolitan Corporation, Dr Muhammad Ali Abbasi, adding that the device is claimed to be 99.95 per cent accurate.


As many as 1,500 samples have been checked from the ISTOC devices and the results were also checked against the PCR and Elisa kit. So far, all the diagnoses have been correct, he added.


“We are planning to introduce this technology in other hospitals as well but primarily it`s to get the best result when we are facing any epidemic,” remarked Deputy Mayor of Karachi Arshad Vohra.


 “Another task it to make patients aware of this device,” said Vohra, adding that due to low literacy rate majority of patients don’t let medical staff take their blood samples and instead only ask for medicines.

KARACHI:  On a scorching Saturday morning, Muhammad Arsalan took his four-year-old son, Arsalan, to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital. Covered in warm clothes, the boy continued to shiver and had a high body temperature. The father told the medical staff that his son has severe body pain and weakness. The patient was taken to the out-patient department of Dr Kamran Ahmed, general physician, where his blood samples were taken and sent to a lab.Within a couple of minutes, the boy’s blood test report showed that he has dengue.Diagnosing dengue fever is quite difficult as its symptoms are similar to those of other diseases. However, the latest technology in the hospital makes it easier to detect such diseases.Arsalan, who works as a computer operator at a garment factory in Korangi, said, “this is the first time in my life I have got the result so early.” He said that he has never seen the device used by hospital’s medical staff before.Previously, it would take at least two days to diagnose patients with a particular disease. “It was a tough time as you can’t do anything but wait for the result. On the other hand, the doctors also couldn’t start proper treatment as well.”Explaining the technology, Dr Kamran said that it’s a rapid test kit. The technology, which has been developed by Finnish health care company ISTOC, turns a person’s smart phone into a virtual clinic.Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who is the representative of ISTOC in Pakistan, said that the technology can diagnose malaria, dengue, HIV, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C. Separate devices are used for the diagnosis of each disease, he added. The disease is diagnosed in three steps. First the blood sample is taken, which is then kept on the specific device. Lastly, the doctors take a picture of the particular devices’ IDR (infectious diseases reader). “Our mobile application will then send the results in minutes,” he added.ISTOC technology is also available in other countries such as Bangladesh, Africa, Brazil, Nigeria and different parts of the Europe.Abbasi Shaheed Hospital is the only hospital in the country which is using this technology. “Initially, we are collaborating with ISTOC for diagnosing dengue, malaria and hepatitis to find out how effective the device is,” said Senior Director Health Service of Karachi Metropolitan Corporation, Dr Muhammad Ali Abbasi, adding that the device is claimed to be 99.95 per cent accurate.As many as 1,500 samples have been checked from the ISTOC devices and the results were also checked against the PCR and Elisa kit. So far, all the diagnoses have been correct, he added.“We are planning to introduce this technology in other hospitals as well but primarily it`s to get the best result when we are facing any epidemic,” remarked Deputy Mayor of Karachi Arshad Vohra. “Another task it to make patients aware of this device,” said Vohra, adding that due to low literacy rate majority of patients don’t let medical staff take their blood samples and instead only ask for medicines.

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