Ugandans cry foul as the Health Ministry introduces COVID-19 Sample testing fees

Posted: 2020-08-31T05:36:52Z
Ugandans cry foul as the Health Ministry introduces COVID-19 Sample testing fees

Ugandans are up in arms against a decision by the Health Ministry to charge USD65 an equivalent of 240,000 for every COVID19 tests carried out on people who are not contacts of previously confirmed cases or patients showing signs.

A letter signed by one Geoffrey Sseremba on behalf of the Permanent Secretary Dr Diana Atwiine, indicates that infection rates are at a rise due to community spread of the virus.
He noted that several Organizations have been approaching the Ministry to have their staff tested which is difficult to sustain due to the financial challenges.

“In view of the above fact therefore, the Government has introduced a testing fee of USD65 or UGX140,000 per test to certain categories of individuals and organizations. This is a cost recovery mechanism that will enable the Ministry to acquire more test kits for continued access to testing services in the country” Sseremba wrote.

 Those affected by these fees include; Truck drivers testing at different points of entry, Organizations (Private and Government that want to have their staff tested), individuals seeking to know their COVID-19 status, Ugandans returning from Abroad and visitors arriving into the country from different countries.

Meanshilw, government will continue offering free tests to; patients who present to health facilities with COVID-19 symptoms, contacts of people who have tested positive for COVID-19, Community surveys to establish the extent of spread of the virus, Surveillance samples and Frontline health workers.

Many people have since taken to social media to show their dissatisfaction over the new development, with some even wondering why the Ministry’s permanent secretary did not sign the letter herself.
There is a possibility, that many cases will now go undetected due to the lack of funds by individuals to afford these tests.