CoU and GoU Hospitals Charging Patients for Free Government Test Kits

Mukono CoU charges 40, 000 Shilling and the Mukono General Hospital charges 20, 000 Shillings per patient for the free kits that the government has supplied in order to decongest and speed up the process of identifying the positive infected persons.
Main building of Mukono General Hospital.

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The government's emergency move to speed up the identification of persons infected with the Coronavirus is being defeated by some health facilities that are instead charging money for the government's freely supplied test kits, meaning that those who cannot afford cannot be tested and are left to go and continue infecting others.

Mukono Church of Uganda and Mukono General hospital have been pointed out as the institutions perpetrating this disturbing practice in the heavily populated Mukono district, by charging people turning up with tell tell signs that might indicate the presence of the Coronavirus.

Both the CoU and GoU hospitals in Mukono are the facilities are among the hospitals the district health department supplied with rapid diagnostic test-RDT kits to carry out free quick covid-19 tests of people turning up at their centers.

Others facilities that received kits are St Francis Hospital-Naggalama, Kojja Health Center IV and Kasawo Health Center III and they are duly using them without charging the patients. However, Mukono CoU charges shillings 40, 000 and the Mukono General hospital 20, 000 to every client that turn up.

Dr Steven Mulindwa, the District Health Officer notes that the kits were supplied to reduce congestion at Mukono general hospital, the first center that had been designated for testing in the district and they are supposed to carter for only people with evident signs and symptoms.

Nonetheless, several people claim being turned away with severe coughing among other signs after failure to pay the requested money. 

George William Ssemakula, a resident at Nabuti in Mukono Central Division says they had received with joy  news of free testing, but is was cut short after they were told to pay the charges before being tested.

“It is by God’s grace that I am still living," Ssemakula says. "I can assure you I have experienced all the signs of Covid-19 but due to lack of money I chose to return home and do self-medication using traditional herbs.”

Betty Nakasi, the Speaker to Mukono District Council says has received several complaints from people who have completely failed to raise such charges to test. She raised the matter with the concerned parties but have not yet responded.  

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Luganda Byte.

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Muhammad Wasswa Takwana, the LCI Chairperson of Ggulu Ward A says that despite having now three families of people who have lost dear ones to covid-19 in the past two weeks, their relatives are still failing to test and know understand their status even as  some of them have developed signs and symptoms.

Dr Simon Nsingo, the Mukono CoU Hospital Medical Director has declined to talk about the illegal charges while Dr Geffrey Kasirye of Mukono General Hospital has promised to follow up the matter saying he has been not aware of the racket going on.

The Head of Mukono District Covid-19 Task Force who is also the Residents District Commissioner Fatumah Ndisaba says they shall not fail to penalize whichever medical officer is carrying the dubious sell of free government kits.

Ndisaba explains that kits can only be paid by people seeking them for commercial purposes and they supposed to deposit the money on Uganda Revenue Authority bank accounts before returning with receipts for testing.

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