Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus and spreads primarily through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Testing is a crucial tool in the pandemic response to identify and confirm COVID-19 for symptomatic individuals so that they can receive appropriate care and follow public health measures such as self-isolation, and contact tracing without delay. With prompt identification of positive cases, mass testing enables prompt isolation of the infected individuals and prevents further transmission of the disease.
A voluntary Mass antigen testing initiative of SARS COV-2 infection was conducted during Month-Month 2021 in seven wards of Resunga Municipality, of Gulmi District, of Nepal to combat COVID-19. A protocol was set up for participant enrollment and tele health management. Details about the community testing program were advertised through distribution of informative flyers by female health volunteers and announcements on local radio, and television channels.
A total of 524 participants were selected in the study with an approximate equal distribution of female (49.8%) and male (50.1%) sexes were enrolled in the study. Individuals aged 16-45 years constituted more than half (59.1%) of total enrolments. 13.8% of all participants were identified through contact tracing of positive cases. A total of 40 (7.6%) individuals tested positive for SARS CoV-2 infection on rapid diagnostic test.
Mass testing has been widely discussed as a possible instrument that can be deployed to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 while also allowing the economy to remain open. While we think that our study makes a valuable contribution to the discussion about the potential benefits of mass testing.