Mandatory COVID testing for truckers at Uganda land border points halted

Mandatory COVID testing for truckers at Uganda land border points halted
Trucks pile up at Malaba border point between Kenya and Uganda on September 07, 2020 due to slow COVID-19 testing.

Tororo, Uganda | URN | The Government of Uganda has dropped its decision requiring truckers to undergo a mandatory COVID-19 testing before entering the country. The truckers have been paying Shs 100,000 for COVID-19 testing before they are allowed to cross into Uganda.

Recently, the truckers from Kenya rose up in protest of the high testing charges, mandatory COVID-19 testing; and parked their trucks that covered a distance of close to 50 kilometers. They blocked the road and vowed not to cross to the Ugandan side until the government reduces the charges or scrap it off completely like it’s the case in other countries.

Now in a January 6th, 2022 letter, the Director-General Health Services Dr. Henry Mwebesa has directed all District Health Officers in border districts to clear all the truck drivers and their accompanying staff to proceed with their journey without requiring them to test for COVID-19.

According to the letter, in order to clear the accumulated Cargo trucks on the border due to the impasse over COVID-19 testing, an Inter-ministerial meeting chaired by the Prime Minister agreed to clear all truck drivers and their accompanying staff, with negative COVID-19 PCR results taken in the last 72 hours.

He, however, directed that the tests must have been done from a list of approved laboratories in the East African Community (EAC) namely Kayonza hospital, Cibitoke Hospital, Institute National de Sante’ Publique (INSP) in Burundi, National Influenza Centre, National HIV Reference Lab, Nairobi, Nairobi Hospital, African Medical Research Foundation (AMREF) Medical Centre, Wilson Airport, International Organization for Migration Laboratory, Kenyatta University Teaching and Referral Hospital, Medical Research Institute (KEMRI – VHF), Mahi Mahiu (Naivasha) Mobile testing point.

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Others include Queen’s Laboratory, National Public Health Laboratory, Checkups medical center Juba, Med Blue Laboratory and Crawford Laboratory in South Sudan, Gisenyi District Hospital Laboratory, Ruhengeri Referral Hospital Laboratory, King Faysal Hospital Rwanda Lab, Kigali City, Gasabo National Reference Laboratory, University Teaching Hospital Butare Laboratory (UTHBL)/CHUB, Gihundwe District Hospital Lab and Nyangatare District Hospital Lab in Rwanda among others.

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In Uganda, the testing centres include Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI), Adjumani Mobile laboratory, Test and Fly, Elegu Branch, Test and Fly, Malaba Branch, Gulu University multi-function laboratory, Gulu via Tororo Mobile laboratory, Rakai Health Science Program Laboratory, Kyotera, Epicentre Laboratory, Mbarara, Central Public Health Laboratory, and Entebbe International Airport Health Laboratory among others.

And in Tanzania, the truckers are expected to have test results from Mount Meru Regional Referral Hospital, Arusha, Bugando Medical Centre, Mwanza, Dodoma Regional Referral Hospital, Mnazi Mmoja Hospital, Zanzibar, and National Public Health Laboratory, Dar es Salaam.