Ugandans on social media have decried government’s decision to charge shs. 240,500 for Covid-19 testing.
The Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary Dr. Diana Atwine announced in a statement that starting September 1, 2020, specific categories of Ugandans will have to pay Shs 240,500 as fees for Covid-19 testing across the country.
Dr. Atwine said that the fees will be charged on all truck drivers at the different points of entry, individuals seeking to know their Covid-19 status, organisations, Ugandans returning from abroad and visitors arriving in the country.
A number of Ugandans on social media have since decried the decision saying that this will be a huge setback to the fight against Coronavirus in the country.
One of them, Moses Byamukama, said that the decision to charge for Covid-19 testing services goes a long way to highlight that a few individuals are benefiting from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Byamukama said: “Now is the time to prove right those individuals who have always said that a small fraction of Ugandans are benefiting from this Covid-19.”
Jimmy Kaduma, another Ugandan on Facebook, said that government received a lot of funds in the name of Covid-19 and Ugandans were also generous to donate to the national task force. He said that it will be betrayal, if nationals will again have to pay to get tested.
“Where are the billions that they collected from donors? We just have thieves in government and heartless human beings. I keep wondering if we have Ugandans running this country,”Kaduma said.
Berna Namande said that the fees might force many people to resort to home treatment of symptoms instead of going to hospitals to get tested which might be a disaster for the country.
In her explanation, Dr. Atwine said that government will continue testing for free, patients who have presented with symptoms of Covid-19, contacts to already confirmed cases, community surveys and surveillance samples.
Dr. Atwine said that it is not sustainable for the ministry of Health to continue testing individuals and staff of corporate companies for free due to inadequate in-country stock of test kits and resources.
The Shs 240,500, according to Dr. Atwine will serve as a cost recovery mechanism that will enable the Health ministry to acquire more test kits.