Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The government is going to start charging people and organisations to be tested for COVID-19 effective September 1, 2020.
According to the health ministry, truck drivers, people in need of knowing their COVID-19 status, government and public organisations, Ugandans returning from abroad, visitors from other countries will all be mandated to pay a fee of 240,500 Shillings for tests to be carried out.
All people who need to carry out tests in government testing facilities will be expected to deposit money into a COVID-19 account that has been set up to collect money for the tests. The move is aimed at reducing the high cost that the government is incurring to carry out testing for various groups, according to a statement issued by the health ministry.
Geoffrey Seremba, the undersecretary at the Ministry of Health says that the fees being collected will enable the ministry to carry out more testing for the disease.
” …Government has introduced a testing fee to address the many requests from organisations to have their staff tested amidst inadequate involuntary stocks of test kits, resource constraints and high cost of testing. The fee is a cost recovery mechanism that will enable the health ministry to acquire more test kits for continued access to testing services in the country,” Seremba said.
The Ministry adds that those who want to go to private testing laboratories can also access the test at Lancet, MBN or Medipal International Hospital at an average fee of 300,000 Shillings.
The changes come at a time when the country is experiencing a daily increase in the number of COVID-19 cases. According to the health ministry, 4000 tests equivalent to 962 million Shillings are carried out every day.
The health ministry says that government will, however, continue to cater for testing fees for people who present at health facilities with COVID-19 symptoms, contacts of people who test positive for the disease and participants in community surveys. The government will also continue to pay testing fees for health workers.
As of yesterday, Uganda had tested over 366,000 tests of COVID-19.