By Spy Uganda
Kampala: As the country continues to grapple with Covid-19 resurgence, a section of NRM MPs have petitioned Prime Minister, Robinah Nabanjja over the excessive and exorbitant Covid-19 treatment charges on patients despite the public outcry to the private health facilities to harmonize the charges.
The legislators led by Atwijukire Dan Kimosho who represents Kazo Constituency now want the government to revoke licenses of the health facilities that are charging patients too highly and also impose a zero tax on all medical equipment used in the prevention and treatment of Covid-19.
Atwijukire said that government should intervene and save Ugandans the huge cost of treatment coupled with financial challenges since the country has been under lockdown.
“Government should immediately interrogate overcharging of Covid-19 patients and regulate these prices in the private sector and offer standard reference prices for the treatment of Covid-19 patients,” Atwijukire said
In the same vein, Sheema Municipality MP Dickson Kateshumbwa said that health facilities in Uganda are charging unfairly in the treatment of COVID-19, something that needs to be checked.
“The cost of treating a Covid-19 patient in ICU here is above Shs 4 million, but in Kenya the average cost for an ICU patient is Shs 1.7 million, this is corruption and it is unacceptable.” Kateshumbwa said.
Last week, the head of State House Anti-Corruption Unit, Col Edith Nakalema said that government might be forced to intervene and stop private health facilities from charging Covid-19 patients exorbitantly.
According to charge sheets that have been trending on social media, some hospitals charge ambulance for an outside patient at Sh2,000,000, a referral from the hospital at Shs 700,000, a patient deposit Shs1 million and daily payments oxygen at Shs1,000,000.
These charges in a country where the average Ugandan earns about Shs 2.7 million a year means that the cost of transporting critically ill Covid-19 patients is beyond the affordability of most households.
The legislators said that government should also provide subsidies on the importation of health equipment, to reduce the burden slapped on treating COVID-19 patients.