Fight over COVID-19 Tests Goes to Museveni

The fight between the Ministry of Health and Makerere University over alleged false Covid-19 tests has been referred to President Yoweri Museveni, after the acting Prime Minister, Gen Moses Ali, failed to reconcile the two groups.

Health Minister, Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng and Makerere University Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe led their respective teams to a meeting that Ali chaired at the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) on Wednesday morning to resolve their fight which is reportedly over the management of Covid-19 funds.

The clash between the two institutions came into the public domain last week after Museveni informed Parliament on June 11, that some Covid-19 negative tests had been wrongly declared positive by a testing lab at Makerere University.

Some media outlets reported that the fight stemmed from a disagreement between the two entities over the cost of running the tests.

The meeting at OPM also had the attendance of representatives from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and members of the national Covid-19 taskforce. Journalists were not allowed in.

“It is you the media blew the matter out of proportion and misinformed the public. Always verify your information before you rush to publish,” Ali told journalists as the group hurried out of OPM to drive to State House, Entebbe, to meet Museveni.

Dr. Acheng downplayed the fight, telling journalists that her ministry enjoys a cordial working relationship with Makerere University based on evidence even before COVID-19 where Makerere generated research and submitted it to the ministry to carry out policy decisions.

But Dr. Daina Atwine, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Health blamed the fight on people “with a personal vendetta.”

“There are no resources we are fighting for; these resources are so meager compare to what other countries have. We have been a subject of ridicule, propaganda and malice. Every day, they have to write about us me and the minister, I don’t know why?” Atwine wondered.

Makerere University vice-chancellor professor Barnabas Nawangwe, said that the only issue between the two parties was about the false COVID-19 results, which has since been cleared.

He added that the government has given Makerere over Shs 70.3 billion to support over 110 research and innovation projects currently being undertaken by staff, students, and other collaborators to find locally based solutions to the pandemic.


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