The State House Health Monitoring Unit has opened investigations into laboratories that issue fake COVID-19 test results.
This comes after several travelers at Entebbe International Airport were blocked after it was discovered that they had fake COVID-19 results.
According to the health monitoring unit, most of the affected persons were migrant workers who were issued with negative tests but were later found to be positive.
Dr Warren Namara, the head of the State House Health Monitoring Unit says they are investigating several irregularities concerning COVID-19 testing. He says they are investigating the integrity of all laboratories that are carrying out COVID-19 testing.
“People are testing and presenting certificates that are fake at the airport. We are looking at the integrity of the laboratories that are carrying out tests,” Dr Namara said.
As part of the investigations, the unit will visit all laboratories that are currently testing for COVID-19 in the country. Previously accredited laboratories will have to undergo assessment while those that are not might be closed.
According to the health ministry, only 25 laboratories are accredited to carry out COVID testing.
These laboratories are spread throughout the country and these include; Uganda Virus Research Institute, Central Public Health Laboratory, Infectious Disease Laboratory, Makerere Hospital, Mild May, Joint Clinical Research Center, MBN Laboratories, ANCA Biotech, Fort Portal Regional Referral Hospital, Case Clinic, MSF-Epicenter, Rakai Health Sciences, Text Xpress, Same Day Laboratory and Adjumani Mobile Laboratory. Other mobile laboratories include; Tororo and Mutukula.
Emmanuel Ainebyoona, the health ministry spokesperson says they will work with different agencies to ensure that testing for COVID-19 is carried out at only accredited laboratories.
“From the five days, the retesting exercises of migrant workers at Hotel Africana, we have discovered that many people were being issued with false COVID-19 results. They came with negative results but on testing turned out to be positive. It looks like some of them paid conmen who just took their money and issued them false results,” Ainebyoona said.
According to the health ministry, the false tests were flagged because they did not show up on the central test result system. Ainebyoona says they will be visiting some of the laboratories that issued the fake results.
Last week, Dr Susan Nabadda, the Executive Director of Central Health Public Laboratory, and also the person in charge of COVID-19 testing on the ministerial COVID-19 Scientific Committee cautioned people on testing for the disease.
She urged people getting tested to go to accredited testing sites and avoid people who promise to pick samples from homes.