Starting today Ugandans will pay Ush240,000 ($65) for a Covid-19 test as the government manages its own costs in dealing with Corona-Virus pandemic.
A circular from the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Health, Geoffrey Sseremba said,
“This is a cost recovery mechanism that will enable the Ministry of Health to acquire more test kits for continued access to testing services in the country.”
The public is, however, questioning the move, considering the large amount of money the country has received in the past five months to contain the virus. There is concern that the testing will exclude the poor who cannot afford to pay.
The fee is for anyone who wants to get tested, but the government has listed those who must undergo the test. These are truck drivers, individuals seeking to know their status, citizens returning from abroad, organisations seeking to test their staff, and visitors arriving into the country. Some 200,000 kits were donated by the Jack Ma Foundation. Development partners such as WHO, EU and UN have also donated kits.
More than 350,000 tests have already been conducted in the country.
In June, Emmanuel Katongole, who heads the National Covid-19 Taskforce, told The EastAfrican that the taskforce had received a total of Ush33 billion ($9 million), of which Ush16 billion ($4.3 million) was in cash.