As the struggle to Stay safe continues, Dr Atwiine Diana the Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Health has said that there is no inquiry which was received from ISO and their co-investigators as purported by some media houses.
The leadership claims that there has been consistent misleading articles by the Daily Monitor intended to cause mistrust and portray a negative image of the Ministry of Health; the most recent article titled “ISO investigates officials over COVID-19 testing kits” was published on 13th September 2020 in the Sunday Monitor.
The article stated that the highest cost for testing COVID-19 was only attributed to sample collection, transportation media and triple packaging. It also loses context when it quotes Kary B. Mullis, a Nobel prize winner for Chemistry in 1993- ‘PCR test is a fast and inexpensive technique’.
“This test is one of the most high end priced and time-consuming, in that it takes a minimum of 4 hours to produce results. We continue to remind everyone that nobody is above the law. If the report is genuine, it should be published and we clearly see the author and also subject the purported culprits to the arm of the law,” Dr Atwine said.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has carried out repeated assessments on the PCR test, and the latest guidance issued on 11th September 2020 also emphasizes the use of the same diagnostic technique for covid19 as opposed to the famous Rapid Antibody Diagnostic Test which has resulted into continuous social media attacks on Ministry of Health.
We bring you a detailed breakdown of the cost per person as per Ministry of Health procurement as of June 2020 below:
1. Nasal pharyngeal (nasal swab) – USD 1.80
2. Oral pharyngeal swab – USD 1.80
3. Triple packaging – USD 2.25
4. Universal Transport media- USD 8.50
Total USD 14.35$
Additionally, our source of information reveals that other costs, on the whole, activity are due to freight and insurance. Whereas the transport medium is regarded as a dangerous substance that should be transported only by sea, there was a need to airlift these particular consumables because of the urgency at that point in time. However, in normal circumstances, it would have been much cheaper to transport the liquid substance by sea.
Dr Diana also agrees that the public has suffered at the hands of extortionists in the name of testing for COVID-19 and she categorically stated that anyone who presents to the Government designated testing sites with symptoms, or are contacts of confirmed cases are tested free of charge. However, any person/agency who wishes to test routinely or at leisure will be expected to pay USD 65$ (UGX 240,500).
The public is therefore advised that they should NOT pay an individual to get a COVID-19 test. All payments should be made at Stanbic Bank or a Stanbic Bank authorized agent and should present at the designated sample collection sites.
The Permanent Secretary also has advised individuals who wish to undergo testing at the accredited private laboratory facilities which include: MBN Laboratory, Lancet, Medipal International Hospital and Makerere University Hospital to do so and pay accordingly.
I want to assure the entire Government and the public in general that my team is committed to transparency, accountability and value for money in all what we do, She added.
We bring you more details in PART II…