World, Africa

Uganda government taken to court over COVID-19 treatment cost

Health activists file petition with high court, pleading to force ministry to regulate fees at private hospitals, clinics

Godfrey Olukya   | 25.06.2021
Uganda government taken to court over COVID-19 treatment cost A view of deserted streets as part of coronavirus (COVID-19) measures in Kampala, Uganda. ( FILE PHOTO - Anadolu Agency )


Sixty organizations working for the public’s right to health have filed a collective petition against Uganda's government for allegedly allowing private health facilities in the country to charge COVID-19 patients exorbitant fees.

Moses Mulumba, a lead petitioner, told the media in Kampala on Friday that the petition has been filed with the country’s high court. The Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners Council, as well as the country's Health Ministry, have been nominated as respondents in the case, he noted.

The petition claims that both the government and the council have failed to rein in private health facilities that charge COVID-19 patients exorbitantly.

Mulumba argued the ministry is empowered to regulate fees charged by private hospitals and clinics under the Public Health Act and the Medical and Dental Practitioners Act.

"The Ministry of Health has the authority to regulate health investment in the private sector. And It is also supposed to regulate not only the quality but also the cost of health care," he added.

An ordinary COVID-19 patient pay a minimum of 10 million Ugandan shillings (approximately $2,500) per day for treatment at private health facilities, which the public health right activists believe is excessively exorbitant, he claimed.

They now want the court to intervene and force the government to take up responsibility for ensuring that the minister exercises her legal power to control private health practitioners, he said.​​​​​​​

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