Some government hospitals in Bengaluru have been asking for an individual's religion while filling the Specimen Referral Form (SRF) for carrying out the RT-PCR test.
According to Deccan Herald, a 41-year-old woman was asked to fill her religion at the Jayanagar General Hospital for conducting an RT-PCR test as her organisation had asked to submit a COVID-negative certificate to resume work from her office premises.
She was surprised when the hospital authorities asked her religion in the form.
'Mandated In All Govt Hospital'
According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), SRF drafted by them does not require to mention religion but the hospital told Deccan Herald that forms for outpatient and inpatient at all government hospitals require religion of an individual. Patients seeking COVID test require to fill the outpatient form, said the hospital.
"I have done the COVID test last year at the same hospital and there was no such form," the woman told DH on condition of anonymity. "It is problematic even if the hospital asks for religion at the OPD level."
Furthermore, a colleague of hers also got tested for COVID-19 at a primary health centre, about two weeks ago, but was not asked anything about the religion.
The Jayanagar General Hospital COVID Nodal Officer, Sudha BM, said that the OPD registration in all government hospitals requires to mention of religion. "In schemes like Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY), you get the benefit if you belong to the Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribes," she said.
A person must be below the poverty line (BPL) to get cash assistance under JSY, irrespective of religion.
Hospital medical superintendent Dr Ramakrishnappa said the detail of whether a patient is a Hindu, Muslim, or Christian is asked to analyse the utilisation of health services by respective religious groups.
The publication further mentioned that the departments handling medical records at Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute (BMCRI), KC General, and CV Raman General hospitals accepted asking for a person's religion.