The National Organization of Trade Union (NOTU) says government should lead the fight against corona virus without leaving it to the citizens considering the pandemic implication to the population that even still struggle to access the basic needs .
Usher Wilson Owere, the Chairperson General of the National Organization of Trade Unions-NOTU has joined those opposed to the newly introduced COVID-19 testing fees by the Health Ministry.
According to the Ministry, each company that seeks to tests it employees will have to fork out Shillings 240,0500 for a single test. He says even corporate bodies are to pay for their employees or some employees are able to pay, the Covid19 testing fees isn’t proper without a minimum wage in place.
Owere argues that majority of workers in the country earn very little and are in informal employment, adding that subjecting them to pay for Covid19 testing will amount to the denial of their rights to health and basic resources that should be provided by the government.
He insists that there is no solid reason for the government to impose Covid19 testing fees on workers some of whom has lost their jobs, suffered pay cuts or leave without pay because of the pandemic.
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Owere says that even without relevant labour laws to protect the workers from paying for COVID-19 testing, it is logical for the government not to charge them in such a situation where all citizens are suffering. He says the government is likely to lose the war on Covid19 should it insist on charging citizens for testing.
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The Health Ministry Spokesperson, Emmanuel Ainebyona clarifies that the government will continue providing free testing for different categories of citizens including those with consistent Covid19 symptoms, contact of previously confirmed cases, health workers and during the routine rapid assessment.
He says the Covid19 testing fees will only apply to individuals that would voluntarily want to know their COVID-19 status, returnees from abroad, truck drivers and corporate companies.
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Recently, the Regional Truck Drivers Association also rejected the Covid19 testing fees describing as inhumane and counterproductive.