Mathikere swab collector takes 251 samples in just 4 hours | Bengaluru News

Bengaluru: A swab collector in Mathikere has created a record of sorts by collecting throat and nasal swab samples of 251 people in a span of four hours. PK Manjunath, 28, has been working with BBMP’s Covid-19 team in various capacities for close to three months now. His feat on Tuesday drew appreciation from BBMP brass.
Dr Revanasiddayya M, Covid medical officer at Mathikere primary health centre in RR Nagar zone, said, Manjunath was the only swab collector available for its mobile unit on Tuesday. The PHC has been set a target of 360 samples a day, a majority of which is collected through the mobile unit. Tuesday’s effort was achieved at Yeshwantpur railway station.
Dr Revanasiddayya said Manjunath takes 50 seconds to swab an individual, while protocol suggests one minute for the job.
Manjunath, who joined BBMP’s Covid team in August, has not yet received a single rupee in salary. He was selected in a walk-in interview arranged by the Palike to pick staff for Covid Care Centres. BBMP promised him Rs 25,000 per month, but he was never paid.
At first he worked at the Jnanabharathi CCC. After 10 days of continuous work, he was in quarantine for a week. By then, the CCC closed down.
“I got a call again asking me to join as a swab collector for a salary of Rs 14,000 per month. I rejected it as the payment was too low and dues for August were pending. But then they upped the offer to Rs 19,000 and I joined work on September 15,” Manjunath said.
Manjunath, who has completed a paramedical diploma course, collects about 200 samples a day, which begins at 6.30am and ends at 8pm when samples – properly packed and barcoded – are sent to the lab for tests. He works in PPE for four to five hours. Usually, the mobile unit team consists of Manjunath, another swab collector, three data entry operators and Dr Revanasiddayya.
Manjunath says often people take their anger out on swab collectors since the process is painful. “Some yell at us, others get angry and ask why they need to get tested since they have no symptoms. Officials step in and sort out things,” he said.
Passengers arriving at Yeshwantpur railway station without masks or wearing one improperly must be tested, besides those with Covid symptoms. “Of 100 passengers tested, 10-15 would be infected. We collect contact number, Aadhaar and address of those providing samples. Many do not give their correct address,” Dr Revanasiddayya said.
Manjunath said: “It’s a tough job, but I give it my all. I hope to get a government job one day.” He is aspiring for a junior health assistant or health inspector post. Manjunath earlier worked in a garment shop which closed during the lockdown.

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