With Ugandans waiting for the third easing of the lockdown or even lifting it completely, the Covid19 cases and deaths are increasing every passing day and the Ministry of Health recently raised concern over the inadequate in-country stock test kits, resource constraints and the high cost of Covid testing.
The inadequacy has mainly been caused by requests from different organizations to have their staff tested which the ministry claims cannot sustain.
For that matter therefore, the government a few days ago introduced a Covid19 testing fee of US Dollars 65 (Ug Shs 240,500) per test, for certain categories of individuals and organizations.
This is the ministry’s cost recovery mechanism that will enable it acquire more test kits but from the time this announcement was passed, it has raised hell as some bitter Ugandans raised their discomfort over this fee that will not be paid by everyone but a select group of people.
Cargo truck drivers entering Uganda from different border points of entry, individuals seeking to know their Covid19 status, organizations (both government and private) that wish to test their staff, Ugandans returning from abroad and visitors arriving into the country from other countries are the categories of people to pay this mandatory fee.
Much as the government will continue offering free testing to patients who present to health facilities with Covid19 symptoms, contacts of people who have tested for Covid19, community surveys to establish the extent of the virus, surveillance samples and front line health workers, some Ugandans through social media have expressed their discomfort about that fee.
“This is affecting the whole world and is worse than AIDs yet the Ug government expects people to pay such an amount for the tests, a family that can’t afford 3 meals a day, is expected to pay 240,500 for a test wic should be free?” One Twitter user said
“Its absurd that a kit that costs less than $3 is sold at $65 here, and now see how shamelessly they want to pull this off. Ideally this thing shd be given to us for free by the” Another one said