The government of Uganda through the ministry of internal affairs has announced mandatory body organ testing for all Ugandans travelling abroad, especially to Middle East countries for work and those returning home because of the same purpose to curb the escalating organ trade which had been on the rise recently.
Uganda has reported several cases, especially from migrant workers with missing internal organs, mostly kidneys after they travel to East countries for work.
As one of the means to reduce illegal and deadly trade, the government has mandated the Ministry of Internal Affairs to start mandatory testing of Ugandans going abroad for work, especially through labour companies and those returning home to ensure their safety.
According to the letter from Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja to all immigration officers, all Ugandans travelling to Gulf Cooperation Council for employment will have to undergo a mandatory check for internal organs and trauma injuries before leaving the country and on landing at the airport.
“As you are all aware there have been numerous instances of accusation of organ trafficking or physical abuse which may or may not be true. However, Uganda risks losing the labour export business opportunity if these accusations continue. The stories of Ugandan migrant workers coming back with missing organs and having been subjected to physical abuse are of grave concern to the government of Uganda. Therefore, the primary aim of government is to ensure the safety of its citizens working abroad,” reads part of the letter.
Nabbanja further noted that the Internal Affairs Ministry will be mandated to set up an authorized centre to do the checks at Bukoto at the premises of the former Kadic Hospital operated by UMC Victoria Hospital.
“This unit shall be responsible for the tests as well as yellow fever vaccination. The processes and charges for this shall be strictly governed and regulated by the Ministry of Internal Affairs,” the letter added.
While addressing journalists on Monday, the Ministry of Internal Affairs spokesperson, Simon Peter Mundeyi confirmed the development saying this will help to clear reports of organ harvesting.
“In order to take away any allegations of organ harvesting, the Ministry of Internal Affairs is set to start mandatory testing of Ugandans going abroad for work and those returning from work. If you are leaving the country, they will have to first check you to confirm you have all your organs and this will also be done to those returning,” Mundeyi said.
Whereas the Office of the Prime Minister’s notice indicated that testing will be done to those going and returning from Gulf countries, Mundeyi said all those going abroad for work irrespective of the country will be tested.
Gulf countries include Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and this is where most Ugandans go for work abroad.
It’s worth noting that a few months ago, the directors of Nile Treasure Gate, a labour export company were arrested and are currently on remand in Luzira after they took Judith Nankintu whose kidney was later removed while working in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Judith Nakintu, was recruited in 2019 by Nile Treasure Gate Company as a housemaid to work in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and flew on December 12, 2019.
However, while working as a housemaid for Saad Dhafer Mohamed Al-Asmari, Nakintu lost her right kidney in questionable circumstances at King Fahad Hospital in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Whereas authorities in Saudi Arabia said she had been involved in an accident that left her paralysed, a medical examination and subsequent report done in Uganda indicated that her right kidney was missing.