Aceng bans private labs from Covid19 testing

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Dr Jane Aceng

Health minister Dr Jane Ruth Aceng has banned private facilities from carrying out Covid19 testing.

This was after some people claimed to have received two different results slips, one indicating positive and the other negative.

Others claim to have taken two different samples on the same day and these give different results.

“Regarding the first claim, we have noted serious forgery of test result certificates by sections of the public for reasons best known to them. The Ministry of Health strongly condemns this act,” Aceng said last week.

Victoria University

To address this issue, the Laboratory department developed unique identifiers for the results slips to differentiate them from the fake ones.

“I advise you to look out for the following features in order to authenticate your result;  the signature of the manager of the testing lab, name of the testing lab, stamp of the testing lab and QR code.”

The result must be traceable in the MOH data base.

“The public is advised that upon receiving your results, scan the QR code with your phone if you have a QR scanner, it should display your name, the lab number, date of sample testing and the testing lab. This will authentic the testing laboratory and your results as truly yours.”

Regarding the second complaint, difference may arise from the sampling technique and the amount of sample removed.

“However, the public is advised that if you test positive for COVID 19 whether you have signs and symptoms or not, we encourage you to take the test as truly positive and take all the precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the disease,” Aceng explained.

Testing fee

The Ministry has received numerous requests from Individuals and organizations requesting to be tested, an activity which the Ministry finds difficult to undertake and sustain due to inadequate in-country stock of test kits, and the high cost of COVID-19 testing.

In addition, due to the high demand for test kits by various countries, the rate of production does not allow procurement in large quantities.

As such the international community set in place a consortium chaired by the World Health Organization to ensure that each country continues to get test kits for purposes of diagnosis and treatment, though not adequate for routine or mass testing.

However, some organizations have approached the Ministry of Health requesting to pay for COVID-19 tests for their staff.

To address this demand and the high costs for routine testing, Government has introduced a testing fee of US$ 65 or UGX 240,500 per test for certain categories of individuals and organizations who may request for testing for their own purposes.

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.

However, the public is informed that a one off testing is not helpful as one may get infected after testing.

Therefore, for testing to be useful, it should be undertaken every two weeks. This is expensive and not affordable.

The categories of people who will pay for the testing services with effect from 1st September, 2020 are:

Truck drivers at the different Points of Entry, Individuals seeking to know their COVID 19 status voluntarily, People seeking COVID-19 certificates for international travel, Organizations (both Government and Private) that wish to test their staff for purpose of prevention, Ugandans returning from abroad and visitors arriving into the country from other countries.

Government will continue to offer free testing services to the following categories:

Patients who present to health facilities with COVID-19 symptoms, Contacts of people who have tested positive for COVID-19, Community surveys to establish the extent of spread of the virus, Surveillance samples and Front line Health workers.

A COVID-19 testing fee collection account has accordingly been opened in @stanbicug where payments will be made in order for the above mentioned categories to access testing services:

BANK NAME: STANBIC BANK UGANDA

ACCOUNT NAME: MOH COVID-19 TESTING FUNDS

ACCOUNT NUMBER: 9030017657983

Payments should be made to the above account and a copy of valid payment slip taken to the sample collection sites listed below for your sample to be removed.

“You will access your results from the same facility within 48-72 hours.”

Samples

Sample collection points for alerts, contacts and symptomatic cases in Kampala /Wakiso.

Kiswa Health centre, Kitebi health centre, Kisenyi health centre, Kawala Health centre, Kasangati health centre, Kiira health cenre, Kibuli Hospital, International Hospital Kampala, Nsambya Hospital, Makerere University Hospital.

Other sites include all Hubs in the various districts.

The Ministry of Health has noted with serious concern that some private health facilities are using Rapid diagnostic tests (RDT) to diagnose COVID 19.

The Ministry of Health would like to categorically state as follows:

WHO guidelines recommend use of Real Time Polymerase Chain Reaction test (RT -PCR) as the mandatory diagnostic test for confirmation of COVID19.

Private facilities are hereby directed to stop testing COVID 19 alerts and contacts using rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs).

The public is advised to go for testing ONLY at the accredited laboratories.

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