By Spy Uganda
Kampala: Following spike in COVID-19 transmision, the ministry of health has noted that beginning September 2020, it will start charging organizations and some individuals for COVID-19 testing despite multi-billion donations from both local and international bodies.
According to the Ministry, truck drivers entering into Uganda, individuals seeking to know their COVID-19 status, companies and government entities that wish to test their staff for purposes of prevention – will all pay testing charges.
Ugandans returning from abroad and visitors arriving into the country from other countries will also be charged for testing. Each person will be charged Shs 240,500 and this will commence on September 1.
The ministry says the fees will help it acquire testing kits since it can’t meet costs for the increased demand for testing tools.“…the Ministry continues to receive requests from organizations to have their staff tested, which it finds difficult to sustain due to the inadequate in-country stock of test kits, resource constraints and the high cost of Covid-19 testing,” reads an August 27 statement from the ministry.
“In view of the above fact, therefore, the Government has introduced a testing fee of US$ 65 (United States Dollars Sixty-five) or UGX 240,500 (Uganda Shillings forty thousand five hundred only) per test for certain categories of individuals and organizations,” adds the statement.
“This is a cost-recovery mechanism that will enable the Ministry of Health to acquire more test kits for continued access to testing services in the country.”
Meanwhile, patients who present to health facilities with Covid-19 symptoms, contacts of people who have tested positive for Covid-19, surveillance samples, and Front-line Health workers will not be charged to get their Covid-19 results.
At the time of releasing the statement, the country had recorded 2500 cases of Covid-19 infections out of more than 350,000 samples tested, giving an infection rate of less than 1%. However, the statement says, it has been observed that the infection rate has sharply increased in recent times due to community spread of the virus.