Ministry of health Uganda

Ministry of Health, Kampala.

Test and fly laboratories issued a press statement on the 15th September 2021 in

which it acknowledges the missed flight but distances its involvement in the management of the affected passengers’ samples and that “there is no way this could happen under their watch.” An extract from statement

Press release Test and Fly Uganda

In a meeting held on the 3rd September 2021 at the Ministry of Health offices all privately owned laboratories with capacity to provide professional and timely PCR Covid-19 tests at the Entebbe Port of entry were invited by the Ministry. Officials from the ministry and private labs like Safari Lab, Same day Lab, Case medical, Maia medical lab, City medical lab, Test and fly and others were represented. A number of contentious issues were raised in the meeting regarding the on-going operations at airport and the meeting was convened by the Ministry of Health to align the operations for ease of the travellers.
First was the space where the testing was currently done and whether it would
accommodate the other laboratories. Peniel hotel gardens were rented by Test and Fly labs and all other laboratories were to sub rent at a rate of 4500 Us dollars per month, equating to 150 Us dollars per day. In addition, Test and fly was to impose a 20 Us dollar charge on every passenger the other labs would test. 
Handling of the traffic by passengers at the location, who are to travel was another issue to be tabled and still Test and fly demanded five paid staff from each of the other labs that intend to occupy the hotel premises.
On a relatively busy day the Entebbe airport will handle between 700 to 900
passengers traffic, going by the current statistics most of whom are booked with
Fly Emirates. As it stands Fly Emirates requires the 6 hour, Covid-19 PCR test
prior to boarding and they require it to be from Test and Fly labs. This leaves about 400 passengers to be shared among the other labs on a peak day. With the above conditions in mind one will beg the question if the 100 passengers that missed their flight should only be shouldered by other labs leaving Test and Fly guilt free.

On the 17th of August a report was written to the State Minister, Ministry of Health about a Test and Fly Covid-19 result that was reported at the Mutukula port of entry by a truck driver, who was tested for Covid-19 by Test and Fly lab on the 2nd of August and was surprised by a Positive result. Not convinced about the result he then proceeded to another lab, Maia medical on the same day just hours after his test and his results of the PCR Covid-19 test were Negative. Copy of report

Report on Test and Fly laboratory

In their norm, Test and Fly was quick to cry innocence in the matter. The case was lodged and a third test was done at the Masaka regional referral hospital. On the 6th of August just days after, the passenger still tested Negative. 

But in that case there was no press statement issued and neither was the passenger compensated for the inconveniences he had to endure because of the test results. Other matters in the report included Test and Fly occupying the government building at Mutukula port of entry yet it was a private laboratory. Accreditation of the Test and Fly laboratory, the service history of its laboratory equipment and staff professionalism were are reported and still no response was given by Test and Fly. 

Malaba port of entry health official also reported a case of Test and Fly lab staff using government facilities and equipment to conduct Covid-19 testing. 

This begs the question if the press statement on the 15th of September is out of
genuine concern for passengers and the private labs that a working under unfair
terms by Test and Fly labs or a quick fix to come out clean.

By Akello Lillian

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