Some Copperbelt residents have bemoaned the alleged fees being charged on individuals seeking Covid 19 tests in some health care facilities.
The residents who sought anonymity lamented that some health facilities in Kitwe, Kalulushi and Ndola are allegedly charging between K500 and K300 to carry out a COVID test, an act they said is defeating the prevention of the pandemic.
And Copperbelt Province Permanent Secretary, Bright Nundwe has warned of stiff punishment against the perpetrators.
ZANIS reports that Mr. Nundwe said such a behaviour will not be tolerated because it is a barrier in the fight against the Coronavirus that has continued to eliminate millions of lives across the globe.
Mr. Nundwe said he has equally received numerous reports and complaints that there is a section of health staff that have made it a habit to charge those that are going for COVID 19 tests adding that he will not hesitate to recommend for dismissal of those that will be found wanting.
“I have received a lot of reports and complaints in certain clinics and hospitals in the province that certain members of staff are charging persons that need to be tested for COVID 19. No member of staff is allowed to charge any test for COVID 19 on any patient,” Mr. Nundwe said.
He has since directed the Copperbelt Provincial Health office and Senior Medical Superintendents to closely monitor all health facilities in the province and ensure that the trend if true, is stopped.
But Copperbelt Province Public Health Specialist, Charles Sakulanda said it is not every institution that is allowed to charge for COVID 19 tests.
Dr. Sakulanda mentioned only Tropical Disease Research Centre ( TDRC), Arthur Davison Children’s Hospital (ADCH), Ndola district health office and the Provincial Health office that are charging for Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests.
PCR tests is a test performed to detect genetic material from a specific organism, and in this case, the Coronavirus itself.
Dr. Sakulanda explained that mostly the tests are carried out on individuals traveling outside the country and seeking express tests then a K500 routine PCR tests is done.
“The TDRC and ADCH will charge for the PCR tests and once you get those tests from the two institutions you come to the district or provincial offices for a certificate. Those are the charges which are there and no other institution is allowed
mandated to charge anything,” Dr. Sakulanda explained.