Following widespread public outcry of over exploitation of Covid 19 patients by private hospitals that are charging exorbitant fees and demanding payment upfront, Next Radio hosted the Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Health Dr. Atwiine alongside other panelists to enlighten the masses on what government is doing about the steep charges.
Dr. Atwiine said that it’s unfair for Ugandans to call them thieves because they are trying.
“We are tired of being called thieves. Let me tell you, we care about Ugandans. It’s not fair to call us insensitive,” said Dr. Atwiine
While commenting on the exorbitant Private hospital fees, Dr. Atwiine said that in the first wave,90% of the Covid patients were admitted in government facilities and costs weren’t discussed when the Private facilities offered to support the government in treating these patients.
She however said that they have had ongoing discussions with private health facilities about the fees and have tasked them to provide a breakdown of their charges accompanied with the justifications for the charges.
“We don’t have a law that supports us to dictate prices by private health facilities. We have a draft of an amendment that we shall take to the cabinet for approval and later Parliament. When we talked to them, some private facilities actually reduced their prices. It’s just that we are not fantasizing about it in the media,” Dr. Atwiine added.
She also said that no body is supposed to retain a body because of unfulfilled financial obligations.
While commenting on the St.Mary’s Hospital Lacor friendly charges, she stated that the charges are low because the Ministry supported the hospital with ICU units.
Dr. Atwiine said that the Ministry cant support everyone one because we are in a global pandemic.
“We are in a global pandemic and ICU beds take about four months after you have ordered before they arrive. Global demand is high,” she said.