Indians turn Bugoloobi hotel into Covid-19 treatment centre, anger Health ministry

Indians in Uganda under their umbrella Indian Association of Uganda (IAU) have booked off thirty rooms at Royal Fort Hotel in Bugolobi in which they are operating a COVID-19 treatment center, in a move they describe as a gesture of Corporate Social Responsibility to Ugandans.

Ironically however, Muhammed Vaheed, the General Secretary of the association told Uganda Radio Network (URN) that patients can only pay a sum of Shs 250, 000 per day and make an upfront deposit of Shs 1 million before they are admitted in the center.

He also revealed that the association is in discussions with other hotels in the Kampala metropolitan areas of Entebbe and Mukono where they intend to open more centres where patients can receive full time attention by health workers and enrolling someone on oxygen therapy whenever need arises. 

This however contravenes guidelines by the Ministry of Health to have people with mild infection not only kept at home but enrolled on minimal medication which can be accessed cheaply over the counter since majority recover without requiring a lot of drugs.

Dr. Joseph Okware, the director of Health Services at Ministry of Health said on Wednesday that the Indian association illegally opened the treatment centres, and are taking advantage of the COVID-19 stress on the health system to dupe unsuspecting individuals.

Coming up at the time when a number of private health facilities have been put on the spot over exorbitant charges, Dr. Okware says they have planned a meeting on Thursday at the Prime Minister’s Office where resolutions will be made regarding the thievery in private medical facilities.

He said that they will penalize the culprits and can be made to refund this money, adding that the ministry had tasked the Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners Council to do an audit on the facilities that have been pointed out in the outcry especially on social media.

Some of the hospitals on the spot are International Hospital Kampala and TMR International Hospital which allegedly withheld a body of a New Vision staff who succumbed to the viral respiratory disease over a bill of Shs 76 million.

However, though he has nothing to show for it, Vaheed said they sought and got approvals from the Ministry of Health to put up treatment centers in hotels to aid quick referral when a patient becomes critical.

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