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NRM MPs petition Prime Minister over exorbitant Covid-19 treatment costs

NRM Members of Parliament hold a press at parliament over Covid-19 treatment costs in private facilities. Courtesy photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | A section of NRM Members of Parliament have petitioned the Office of the Prime Minister over the high cost of accessing health services for the treatment of the COVID-19 patients.

This follows reports that the daily rate for patients that are critically ill and require admission into the intensive care unit ranges between two and five million Shillings which is unaffordable to most Ugandans on a daily basis. Reports also indicate that Ugandans are spending as much as 100 million Shillings to treat COVID-19 from private health facilities.

But the legislators say that although the private sector plays an important role in supplementing government efforts in health service provision, the costs are highly constraining access for a large section of Ugandans.

Kazo County MP Dan Kimosho now wants the leader of Government Business in Parliament to immediately interrogate the exorbitant charges and offer standard reference prices for the treatment of COVID-19 patients. Kimosho also asked the government to impose a zero tax on all medical equipment used in the prevention and treatment of COVID-19.

Sheema Municipality MP Dickson Kateshumbwa says that even though this is a liberalized economy, what is happening in the country tantamount to exploitation. He says that in Kenya, a COVID-19 patient pays an average of 1.7 million Shillings while in Uganda, they pay four million Shillings yet the health sectors have the highest number of incentives.

Kitgum Woman MP Lilian Aber says that there is a need to regulate the exorbitant fees charged in private hospitals saying that it has now become an issue of human rights, because hospitals are denying Ugandans a right to treatment, and a right to live.

The nine MPs including Northern Youth MP Boniface Okot, Nyamutoro Phiona, the National Youth MP, Agnes Atim Apea, the Amolatar Woman MP and Derrick Orone, the Gogonyo County MP also want government to streamline the treatment of COVID-19 patients and ensure that all the critical cases are handled ably. They also applauded the government on the lockdown measures that are aimed at curbing the virus.

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