Kween County MP, Hon Abdi Fadhil Chemaswet has asked the Ministry of Health to review the high cost of mandatory Covid-19 PCR test conducted at Entebbe International Airport.
The test costs US$65 which the MP said is a scheme that only benefits private laboratories stationed at the airport’s immediate outskirts to conduct the test.
“The private laboratories at Entebbe Airport are charging US$65 to conduct the test; they are taken to some beach not even at the airport,” he said.
He added: “When I inquired about what happened to the newly arrived Afghan refugees, I was told that all the refugees were tested at the expense of the government.”
Chemaswet asked government to emulate neighbouring Tanzania, where the testing is at the expense of the government.
He also tasked government to elaborate how the US$65 was arrived at saying the private entities are profiteering at the expense of travellers and are troubling tourists with the procedure.
Health Minister, Jane Ruth Aceng came to the defense of the arrangement, all countries are conducting the tests and that Uganda’s costs are relatively cheaper.
“Globally, all airports are screening and testing people to prevent the importation of new variants; the tests are a result of a collaboration between Ministry of Health, Uganda Civil Aviation Authority and the private sector,” she said.
On the high costs, she said, “the cost of US$65…it might be high but compared to other countries, it is cheap.”
MP Chemaswet insisted on knowing the identity and ownership of the private laboratories conducting the test, but without success.
“We would like to interest ourselves in the laboratories, who are they?,” he said.