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Bengaluru govt hospital staff dismissed for giving fake COVID-19 certificates

The state government has dismissed the lab technician and has filed a complaint against him and one ASHA worker.

Bengaluru’s civic body, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike, on Tuesday conducted an inspection at a primary health centre in the city and found that the health workers and lab technicians were providing “fake COVID-19 negative certificates” to people in exchange for money. 

This was uncovered at the Pobbathi City Primary Health Centre in VV Puram. The Department of Health and Family Welfare has fired one lab technician, who was a contract employee, in connection with the case. The department has also filed a complaint with the police against the health workers and the lab technician.

“An FIR will be filed shortly as a complaint has been filed against the concerned staff. The lab technician, who was working on a contract basis, has been dismissed,” Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar said. 

The incident came to light after the local media carried out a ‘sting operation’ at the clinic located in VV Puram. Soon after the sting operation was aired, BBMP officials conducted an inspection of the premises. 

According to BBMP officials, the clinic was charging a price between Rs 2,500 and Rs 1,500 for a negative COVID-19 certificate. The officials said that the Accredited Social Health Activist, who was carrying out patient registrations, lured people who came to get a COVID-19 test into “buying a fake COVID-19 negative certificate”. 

BBMP officials said that the ASHA worker would negotiate the price and once it was fixed, she would take the person’s mobile number. Instead of a swab sample, she would allegedly mix water in the swab sample kit and send it for testing. “They were sending out false swab samples and the lab technicians would give them the negative certificate,” BBMP Commissioner Manjunath Prasad said. The fake reports would reach the person’s home via post and the said person would also receive a message on the mobile number they gave the ASHA worker. 

State Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar has directed concerned BBMP Health officials to file a police complaint against the hospital. “A team of BBMP joint commissioner and health officials visited Bengaluru Pobbathi Maternity Hospital and inspected it. I have suggested strict disciplinary action against the ASHA worker and the lab technician involved in the fake COVID-19 tests,” Dr K Sudhakar said. 

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