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Uganda allows private hospitals to charge for Covid vaccines

Friday May 13 2022
Covid vaccine.

The Ugandan government has allowed private hospitals to charge people for Covid-19 vaccination. PHOTO | FILE

By DAILY MONITOR

The Ugandan government has allowed private hospitals to charge people seeking Covid-19 vaccination Ush20,000 ($5.52) as overhead costs for the vaccines which were majorly received through donations.

While announcing a collaboration with private facilities on Wednesday in Kampala, Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng said they have now permitted all private facilities to start vaccinating people to increase coverage.  

Vaccination has majorly been happening in public health facilities and outreach points in communities. However, this has caused overcrowding and long queues at the vaccination centres due to limited personnel.

Dr Aceng said since the vaccination started last year, only 25 percent of the country’s 48 million population has been fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

This falls short of the 70 percent vaccination coverage threshold required to lift the burdening Covid-19 restrictions such as wearing of facemasks and social distancing. 

“That is why we need to bring the private sector on board. Our teams will be providing vaccines to those [private hospitals] who are willing to vaccinate free of charge. The private sector needs to be supported in many ways. While the vaccines will be free of charge, there are overhead costs to be met,” she said. 

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“They need to pay the staff, they need to pay electricity, they need to keep the place clean and they need to pay for water. Therefore, the Ush20,000 ($5.52) that will be paid was a discussion that took place in our strategic committee and we agreed on it,” she added.  

The country has so far received more than 44.7 million doses of vaccines from donations and procurements. 71 percent of the targeted 22 million population (49.6 percent of the total population) have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. 

Forty-eight percent of the 22 million are fully vaccinated while 59,000 people have received booster doses, according to the ministry statistics. 

Emmanuel Ainebyoona, the Ministry of Health spokesperson, said private hospitals that are willing to start administering the jabs will have to “write to the local government expressing interest.”

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