Medical Diagnostic Centre

Medical Diagnostic Centre an establishment that determines by scientific examinations the nature and circumstances of a diseased condition. A medical diagnostic centre constitutes an important part of the health care system. Diseases are commonly diagnosed with respect to the causative organisms, if the cause of the disease is invasion by an offending pathogen. Many disease conditions are also diagnosed by tests based on biochemical parameters using either the body fluid, commonly blood, or cells and tissues of the individual. The illnesses that fall in the latter category are known as metabolic diseases since these are not caused by infectious agents such as bacteria or viruses, but are the results of error in the body's biochemical machinery or metabolism.

All medical institutions such as medical colleges, hospitals and research organisations that are engaged in laboratory and field research are usually equipped with routine diagnostic facilities. These facilities usually include laboratories for culturing microorganisms for identification and test of drug sensitivity. Identification of parasitic organisms in samples of stool and blood is also commonly done in most laboratories. In many laboratories there are also facilities for different biochemical tests using blood and urine samples and in a relatively small number there are facilities for some immunological tests. Many institutes also maintain radiological facilities for x-ray photography.

In recent years, many advanced physical techniques such as imaging using high frequency sound waves (ultrasonography), scanning with low level radiation, endoscopy using fibre optics equipment for both clinical examination of internal organs and for relatively non-invasive surgical applications etc have found widespread use in medicine. Together with these advanced technologies, there is also a wide range of newer immunodiagnostic and DNA-based molecular biology tests that are gaining popularity. All of these are of course expensive when they make debut in the market and thus cannot be maintained as routine service in most institutions in a cost-effective manner. As these tests became more and more in number their demand also increased. Since the early 1990s, their distribution and use began to be encouraged in the country through the private sector with good results.

Medical diagnostic centres in Bangladesh even about a decade back mainly involved standard routine tests maintained largely as part of institutional facilities. There was, nevertheless, some degree of duplication of these services in the private sector because government facilities were very inadequate, but these private diagnostic clinics were few in numbers and operated on a modest scale. Early in the 1990s a dramatic trend characterised the biomedical diagnostics field in Bangladesh. This was emergence of private diagnostic clinics in large numbers in most cities and towns. Many diagnostic clinics were rapidly established in major cities and towns over the last few years with expensive equipment and offering many state-of-the-art services with modern technologies.

Establishment of private sector diagnostic clinics in Bangladesh is administratively a relatively straightforward matter regulated under some guidelines of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. In the capital city of Dhaka there are about a hundred major diagnostic clinics. In all of the other divisional headquarters such as Chittagong, Rajshahi, Khulna, Barisal, and Sylhet there will be over a dozen such centres in each city.

Smaller diagnostic centres providing routine services are numerous in the private sector and these are to be found mainly in cities and towns down to the upazila level. From the upazila down to the villages, medical diagnostic facilities are very limited. Where available, these are invariably sponsored by the government usually under specific health care projects, not as part of general health care system of the country. In recent years a small number of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are also seen operating diagnostic centres in their target health care areas such as STD, tuberculosis, leprosy, and malaria. [Zia Uddin Ahmed]

See also healthcare system.