Mildmay Hospital Goes Digital On Covid-19 Testing Amidst Outcry Of High Testing Fee

A health worker testing for COVID-19. (Courtesy Photo)

Kampala | RedPepper Digital – With the government’s planned takeover of COVID-19 testing delayed for a fortnight for travellers at the Entebbe international airport, some licensed private testing facilities are going digital on the same.

According to a Friday 24th September 2021 letter to clients who would like to the test for COVID-19 from the Entebbe road-based hospital, Mildmay Uganda has issued a change in the covid PCR testing and issuing of results for intending outbound travellers, with the directive taking effect on the same day.

Among the new changes are the need for one to download the EAC PASS app and get a QR CODE; a machine-readable code consisting of an array of black and white squares, typically used for storing URLs or other information for reading by the camera on a smartphone.

Having a smartphone is a must for one to get the code, accompanied by an email address. The traveller will then go to the google play store and download the app, sign up and then they will receive a password via the email address and log in to the system to register.

“You will receive a QR code that you will present to the laboratory for scanning before a covid sample is taken off, make sure you obtain a QR code before any payment is made,” reads part of the memo.

 According to software engineering experts, an app like the EAC pass app makes it more convenient to wipe out any incidences of forgery of results by travellers since the user data is encrypted in the system with the help of global tracking position (GPS) which can detect the genuineness of the COVID-19 test since all the licensed covid-19 testing laboratories are registered and logged onto the system.

A similar application was used at the recently concluded delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympics with players, coaches and journalists being required to have the OCHA app (Online Check-in and Health report app) to access the game’s premises.

Among the reasons for the government’s takeover of the tests at the airport are the high testing fee charged for the PCR test by the private labs of USD65 approximately UGX230,000 and the duration for the results, following a public outcry.

 The government tests according to the ministry of health will only cost about USD30 (approximately UGX105,000)

Our efforts to get a comment from the spokesperson of the Ministry of Health, Emmanuel Ainebyoona to find out whether the introduction of the EAC pass app will be rolled out across all private and government covid-19 testing laboratories were futile as he didn’t answer or reply our repeated phone calls and text messages by the time of filing this report.

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