The diagnostic laboratory is an integral part of the healthcare and community health program at JSS, providing low cost diagnostic services to not only outpatients and inpatients, but also to the mobile clinics and village health programme.
Our lab is staffed by qualified technicians and is equipped with modern equipments such as microscopes, cell counters, biochemistry analysers, centrifuges, a coagulometer, colorimeter, water bath, refrigerator, and electrophoresis. We conduct 70 different types of pathological, biochemical, and basic microbiological investigations of different samples on an extremely low budget, and all reports are dispensed within four hours of sample collection with the exception of culture reports. In addition, we are able to conduct other necessary investigations either free or at subsidised rates from the government and private laboratories, always providing results within a short period. With Chhattisgarh being sickle cell disease prevalent area, our appropriate technology programme has developed an electrophoresis machine that tests and provides results for sickle cell for just 40 rupees- a cost unheard of elsewhere in the region.
Our laboratory also develops and produces our own appropriate technology- items such as petroleum jelly, gentian violets, lugols iodine, moisturising lotion, zinc oxide paste, triple dye, and hydrogen sulphide water testing bottles. The JSS lab also contains the first in non governmental blood storage facility to be sanctioned in Chhattisgarh, which helps us to save many more lives.
Protection of Public Health: The Cholera Epidemic of 2007
In August 2007, an outbreak of a diarrheal illness broke out in Kota and Takhatpur blocks, with patients presenting with features of shock within a few hours of onset of diarrhea. Investigations at the JSS laboratory showed presence of vibrios with darting motility in 48 patients. Culture confirmed the presence of Vibrio cholerae.
None of the patients who presented to JSS died, though many were pulseless when they arrived. JSS informed the district health authorities promptly who also took corrective action.
JSS undertook field visits to assess water quality in the villages in the village health programme. It was found for example that almost 30% of the hand pumps at the village level had evidence of fecal contamination of drinking water. This finding from JSS is of a disturbing nature, as hitherto water obtained from hand pumps was assumed to be safe. It is difficult to disinfect hand pumps in comparison to wells. However, JSS has worked with the community to improve sanitation and prevent further outbreaks. The lab played and integral role in assessing and putting a stop to the cholera outbreak, and our ongoing investigations and rapid diagnostics continue to save lives every day.