Qualicel bus Terminal one of the busiest city arcades
Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) has turned a proposal by Mildmay Uganda Hospital to conduct routine COVID-19 screening for the business community in arcades.
On August 11th, 2021, Dr. Yvonne Karamagi, the Director of Medical Services Mildmay Uganda Hospital wrote to the Health Director in KCCA proposing a partnership with Kampala Arcades Advocacy Forum-KAAFO to conduct COVID-19 screening on arcades.
“This is in a bid to limit the spread of COVID 19 through early detection of the infection which protects patients and counterparts through early intervention” reads the letter. She explained that the trader’s success largely depends on the number of clients encountered and money transactions made, largely through physical cash transactions.
“Given the low vaccination rates in the country so far, the country is at risk of getting into a third wave and the dangers it possesses, worse of it being death……… It is in this regard that Mildmay would like to set up a surveillance mechanism through having testing camps at the arcade for routine screening of traders,” Karamagi argued.
She however, didn’t explain what it could take to conduct the routine testing. Dr. Julius Otim, the Deputy Director of Health Services in KCCA, says that they rejected the proposal after realizing that Mildmay Hospital wanted to organize the testing camps and charge people.
He explained that they already have partners and can’t allow a local arrangement. “We normally accept partnerships, but when people have other interests like seeking financial gains we don’t entertain them,” he said. Dr, Otim also wondered where Mildmay Hospital would get COVID-19 vaccines to vaccinate the traders.
According to Dr. Otim, they are currently working with Uganda Red Cross Society, USAID, Family Life International and Infectious Disease Institute. “All these were first engaged by the Ministry of Health to establish which role they are going to play in order to avoid collision, for example, Red Cross is focused on supporting social mobilization. So, if another partner comes and say I want to play a role, we can’t allow them to play the same role as in the same place, this is a waste of resources,” he said.
Adding that, “This means Mildmay didn’t even go through the process. Ideally, they would have engaged the Ministry of health in the partner’s forum but under this channel they used, we would not have proper control.”
Dr, Emmanuel Umony, the Manager of Mildmay Hospital declined to comment on the issues raised by KCCA when contacted by our report. Mildmay is accredited by the Ministry of Health and the South African Accreditation System (SANAS) for ISO 15189 which handles quality of clinical laboratory testing.