COVID-19: Six laboratories selected to test migrant workers
After finding some Ugandan migrant workers travelling to the Middle East with fake COVID-19 test certificates, the Minis ...
As a means to prevent fraud, the Ministry of Health, working with the Uganda Association of External Labour Recruitment Agencies (UAERA), has selected six privately owned laboratories to test all migrant labourers within 24 hours before their flight to the countries of destination.
After finding some Ugandan migrant workers travelling to the Middle East with fake COVID-19 test certificates, the Ministry of Health ordered retesting of all migrant workers going abroad.
According to the health ministry, this was done to ensure that the COVID-19 tests of all the migrant workers meet international health regulations.
According to the UAERA spokesperson, Ronnie Mukundane, the retesting was to be done by government laboratories free of charge but they have decided to change the approach to eliminate the issue of third parties being involved in the retesting process.
“We have selected only six laboratories privately owned laboratories mostly used by our members to undertake the testing exercise on behalf of the ministry. Each labour company has a right to use a laboratory of their choice. However, testing must be done under the supervision of an official from the health ministry,” he said.
Mukundane said the ministry official is to ensure that incidences of fraud that were previously registered in the exercise are dealt away with.
“Through these laboratories, there will be no retesting since the person intending to travel must undergo that testing 24 hours prior to their departure,” he added.
The laboratories selected include; MBN laboratory, Test and Fly Laboratory, Makerere University Laboratory, City Medial Laboratory, MAIA Group Labs and Same Day COVID-19 labs.
He said they decided not to use government-affiliated laboratories because they are already crowded handling other cases, and if involved, would lead to delays.
When contacted, the health ministry spokesman, Emmanuel Ainebyoona, confirmed the development and said the move is intended to ensure strict supervision by the ministry so that only those who are COVID negative are allowed to travel.
“We have engaged six private laboratories to work in close supervision with the ministry so that efficiency is ensured during the testing process to avoid cases of fraud. However, more on the matter, will be communicated next week” he said.