Uganda's health minister disguised herself as a patient at a Kampala hospital — this is what happened

The health minister showed up at Chinese-built Naguru hospital dressed in a Burqa (Muslim attire)

Uganda’s State Minister for Health Hon. Sarah Opendi took some time away from her busy schedule on Friday and made an ‘unannounced’ visit to Naguru hospital in Kampala.

Dressed up in a burqa (Muslim attire), Opendi showed up at the facility in a boda boda (motorbike taxi) in order to investigate reports of alleged corruption.

"I received many complaints that the staff at the hospital was extorting money from patients," Opendi told AFP on Saturday.

The health minister disguised herself as a patient and caught two medical workers demanding a bribe for free government services.

She went through normal patient procedures for some laboratory tests for which she was told to pay 150,000 UGX ($40) "yet these are all supposed to be free".

"I told him I didn't have the money but he insisted."

She was then sent to fetch the testing strips from a nursing assistant, who asked for money as well.

"I paid her and thereafter I called in the police who arrested the two staff," she said of Friday's incident at the Chinese-built Naguru hospital.

Deputy hospital director Dr Stephen Kyebambe expressed gratitude to Opendi for arresting the staff members.

"The minister must be congratulated for unearthing this racket of extortionists at our hospital. We are grateful. Otherwise patients suffer in the hands of these cruel staff," he said.

The practice of extorting patients is common in Ugandan government hospitals, where medical workers earn as little as $70 per month.

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