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In what can be best described as an Undercover operation, Uganda’s Minister of Health, Sarah Opendi on Friday arrested two health workers at Naguru-China Friendship Hospital for collecting bribes.
The Minister covered in Hijab and a face veil worn by Muslim women called Niqab, arrived the hospital on a commercial motorcycle called boda boda (okada in Nigeria) and went through the hospital process like any normal patient would. However, she soon confirmed her suspicions that the hospital is full of corrupt health workers.
She explained to the press: “I arrived here and disguised myself as a patient with abdominal complications. I wanted to confirm reports I have been receiving from the public that Naguru health workers ask patients to pay for free services.
“I went to the doctor who I informed me about my sickness. The doctor then recommended that I do some tests including: liver function test, diabetes and Hepatitis B.
“However, I was directed to the laboratory.” she added.
When she got to the main laboratory, Andrew Kalule, a lab technologist asked for Shs150, 000 to perform the recommended tests which are meant to be free.
“I never had all the money but I gave him Shs100, 000 and pleaded with him to allow me bring the balance when I get. He then gave me his number and name as Ssozi” explained the minister who then encountered Christine Namanda, a nursing assistant who allegedly asked for Shs5,000 in order to avail testing stripes used to diagnose diabetes.
Namanda told journalists at the time of her arrest that the testing strips were out of stock at hospital and that she wanted to go and buy them from a private clinic. However, after being searched by the police, she was found with about Shs87, 300 which she had allegedly collected from patients as bribes. The minister could easily identify the shillings she had given the nurse having kept the numbers.
The Minister indicated that the suspects would be charged to the Anti-Corruption Court.