By Innocent Vuga
The Ministry of Health has today received a donation of 7,800 coronavirus test kits worth 150,000 USD (approximately 555 million shillings) from the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
The donation comes amidst a shortage of testing kits across all testing centres, which has been caused by the surging COVID-19 cases in most urban centres in Uganda.
Handing over the kits, Mr. Sanusi Tejan Savage, the chief of mission for IOM –Uganda highlighted the UN Migration agency’s interest to support the Government of Uganda in the fight against the novel virus.
“Last year, IOM received information from the Uganda National Health Laboratory Services (UNHLS), about the shortage of COVID-19 test-kits.”
“So, as requested by the UNHLS, we at IOM have been doing our level best to support the Government and People of Uganda.” Mr. Sanusi said.
The Ministry of Health’s Director General Health Services, Dr. Henry Mwebesa while receiving the donation said this is a huge boost to the medical laboratories that are hard-pressed with COVID-19 diagnoses and treatment processes.
“If you need to treat COVID, you need to know what you are dealing with. You [IOM] have contributed to a very significant pillar to the COVID response in this Country.”
The Ministry also assured that these kits will be distributed according to different laboratory requirements in the Country.
IOM last month donated 5,000 COVID test kits, a GeneXpert COVID-19 testing machine and personal protective equipment. Since the breakout of the COVID pandemic, last year in March, Government has received over 200,000 USD in cash donations.
However, as the Government continues to receive COVID-19 donations from the private sector and international community, there is no comprehensive accountability that has been presented.
On 15 December, 2020, the Uganda Debt Network (UDN), Anti-Corruption Coalition Uganda, Action Aid, and Transparency International Uganda released a report that showed that the utilisation of COVID-19 funds has been marred with gross irregularities, poor planning and dubious contract signings.
The anticorruption agencies noted that several decisions taken before deployment of the COVID-19 resources were not well thought out and justified, items ordered were not delivered on time, and prices of many items were inflated, besides procurement of substandard items.