By Sadique Bamwita
Due to increased outcries from returnees over the delayed release of COVID-19 results at Entebbe International Airport COVID-19 testing facility, the Legislators on the Parliamentary Health committee made an abrupt visit at the testing facility and tasked officials from the Ministry of Health to work on delays surrounding the release of COVID-19 results for returnees from abroad.
The Legislators led by Hon. Joel Sebikali, the committee Vice Chairperson tasked management of the Airport Covid–19 testing lab to come up with an organized structure to address the mess that inconveniences returnees from getting their results within the required period of less than 3hours.
“We need to strengthen what is in existence for the safety of Ugandans. Make sure you handle people with good customer care not in a military manner,” Hon. Sebikali noted. He added that there is need for the Ministry of Health to comply with the International Health standards where rapid tests are done on returnees before heading to respective destinations.
“You should stick to international standards whereby people should get their COVID-19 results within the required period of less than 3hours.
I don’t want politics where people behave like angels during day time and evils at night.
He warned the management of the Airport Covid-19 testing Lab to be mindful when rendering services to returnees.
“There is no reason why you should fail and once we get more complaints against you we crucify you. You should also ensure quality control so that you issue accurate results to returnees rather than giving false results.
Hon. Dr. Nicholas Kamara, also a member of the committee criticized management of the Airport Covid-19 Testing Lab for going against the required international standards when screening returnees.
“You have gone against screening rules and therefore, you need to follow the screening principles that commensurate with international standards.
Hon. Margret Ayebare also a member of the Parliamentary Health committee opposed the decision by the Ministry of Health to test returnees and then let them go without getting their results instantly saying this may increase the spread of coronavirus.
In his response to complaints raised by the Legislators, Dr. Kagirita Atek, who heads the Entebbe Airport Covid-19 testing lab and also a senior medic from the Ministry of Health, said the Health ministry is committed to prevent intrusion of new variants and that it’s working on an organization structure to address the anomalies at the testing facility.