By Aine Mugisha
Ministry of Health has cautioned Ugandans from being tempted to buy or use questionable products in a bid to test, treat, cure or prevent Covid-19. Meanwhile some private clinics are trying to profit from the pandemic by allowing people to do PCR or RDT tests at their facilities yet they are not accredited.
Dr Henry Mwebesa, the Director General of Health IN Uganda announced that Uganda Virus Research (UVRI) had been selected as one of the reference laboratories for Covid-19 in Africa, to provide genetic information needed for the swift and effective control of Covid-19 and other emerging pathogens. UVRI remains an Africa CDC Reference laboratory.
However, Some Ugandans will go to clinics that have no capacity to test for Covid-19 and complain after getting problems.
Some Residents in Kabale district have raised concerns over exorbitant Covid-19 testing fees being charged by Private clinics in Kabale town. Some of the clinics don’t have capacity to handle but have allegedly been picking samples.
Some residents say that private clinics are charging between Ugx 50,000 to Ugx 100,000 shillings for one to take a Covid-19 test. They also wonder where these private clinics have secured government testing kits which are supposed to be a preserve of government Health facilities.
In Kabale district testing of Covid-19 is publicly known to be done at Kabale Regional Referral hospital, Rugarama and Rushoroza hospitals and Health Center IVs.
However, a Health worker at Kabale Regional Referral told our reporter on condition of anonymity that he suspects that a deal to have these testing kits smuggled to private clinics is always brokered at the level of laboratory managers, since they are the ones who sign for all drugs from hospital stores.
Dr Sophie Namasopo the Kabale Regional Referral hospital Director says that she is not aware that there are any Covid-19 testing kits from the hospital which are being sold to private clinics in a dubious way.
She promised to investigate the matter.
Alfred Besigensi the Acting Kabale Health Officer said that he does not have information that private clinics in Kabale town are testing for Covid-19 and where they are getting the kits from. He also said that government health clinics do not share government Covid-19 testing kits with private facilities.
Emmanuel Ainebyoona However, the senior communications officer in the Ministry of Health said that those private clinics which are charging fees for testing Covid-19 should be investigated to find out where they get those Covid-19 Rapid Diagnostic Testing kits are currently only being distributed by National Medical Store meaning that they are free of charge.
He added that only private health facilities accredited by the government are allowed to do the Covid-19 testing.