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Kagwe: It only costs Sh1,000 to get tested for Covid-19 in govt hospitals

The Ministry of Health on Monday refuted reports that Kenyans are being forced to pay over Sh5,000 for Covid-19 test in designated government institutions.

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said that government hospitals were charging Sh1,000 and urged Kenyans to visit the facilities to know their status.

TESTING FEE

“We don’t charge for mass testing. There are private labs that are also testing as well as government hospitals. In government hospitals we are charging Sh1,000,” said Kagwe.

His sentiments were echoed by Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) CEO Evans Kamuri, who said currently Mbagathi Hospital has been set aside to specifically take care of confirmed cases and the very sick to contain the spread of the virus.

The Ministry of Health also added that it is now focusing on testing persons who exhibit Covid-19 symptoms at government health facilities as opposed to random testing owing to the cost implications.

Recently, there has been a push and pull between various laboratories and other institutions over who should conduct the Covid-19 tests.

Last week, Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) indicated that it will no longer collect Covid-19 samples for testing, but instead test samples from various designated testing facilities in the country.

FAKE TESTS

In a statement, the institute indicated that collection of samples at the headquarters and all its centres and stations will not be allowed.

“We would like to notify the public and our esteemed cooperate that Kemri will not be handling sample collection for Covid-19 testing. However, the institute will continue to discharge its national duty of conducting the sample testing in all our designated laboratory countrywide,” said part of the statement.

Last week, Lang’ata Hospital in Nairobi had its laboratory closed indefinitely for carrying out fake Covid-19 tests.

The facility was raided by officials from the Kenya Medical Laboratory Technicians and Technology Board following allegations that they were carrying out fake Covid-19 tests.

Reports indicated that the hospital had been charging patients Sh5,500 for the tests then ferrying them in an ambulance to Kemri for the actual tests, while misleading the public that it has the capacity to conduct the tests.

The Director of the hospital Dr Ashoke Singh Matharu and his three employees were charged with stocking expired laboratory chemical substances and have since been released on a cash bail of Sh100,000 and Sh50,000 cash bail after denying the charges.