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MAK Hospital Increases COVID-19 Testing Fees

Previously, the hospital was charging 100,000 Shillings for each test. However, the hospital management says they were forced to increase the cost of testing after support from the development partners was halted.
Makerere University Hospital has increased the covid-19 testing fees to 200,000 Shillings. 

Previously, the hospital was charging 100,000 Shillings for each test. However, the hospital management says they were forced to increase the cost of testing after support from the development partners was halted. 

Prof Josephat Byamugisha, the Executive Director of Makerere University Hospital, says they were forced to increase the testing fees after they ran out of testing kits and personal protective equipment-PPE that was previously supplied by development partners.

Byamugisha adds that they have also increased the number of staff to ensure quality services.

Daily, the facility tests over 200 people between the hours of 8:00 am and 5:00 pm. Byamugisha says the extra 100,000 Shillings enables them to procure the needed testing equipment.

Other private testing laboratories have been forced to increase the cost of the test, despite the government reducing the cost at public testing facilities. 

At all government facilities, testing is now carried out at a cost of 185,000 Shillings while at other private testing laboratories like Medipal the cost has been increased from 330,000 to 350,000 per test. A source at the hospital that preferred anonymity says that the fees were increased to deal with high prices of reagents and test kits.

"The prices of reagents and test kits keeps on increasing on the international market and that is where we get the things we use from. When the prices increase, it is hard for us to keep on testing at the same price," the source said.

The situation is similar to other testing facilities such as MBN laboratories where the cost has been increased to 335,000 Shillings for express tests. Originally, the laboratory carried out tests at 300,000 Shillings.

At other private laboratories such as UMC Victoria and Ruby Medical Center, tests are being carried out at 350,000 shillings.

Dr Diana Atwine, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Health says they cannot control how much private facilities charge for testing COVID.

"They are not using our kits and are buying their test kits separately and they set their prices as such. We can only decide fees for laboratories that we provide testing kits and even PPE," she said.

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