Gov't clarifies on persons who are being tested for Covid-19 free of charge

Kenyans have been paying up to Sh10,000

Health CS Mutahi Kagwe

The Ministry of Health on Monday clarified that testing for Coronavirus has remained free of charge at public facilities.

While responding to a question from reporters, CS Mutahi Kagwe insisted that public facilities have not been charging for the test.

He, however, added that those who are not being charged are those from target red zones of the infection.

He added that walk-in, voluntary testing is being charged at Sh1,000 in the public health facilities.

"Testing is very expensive and we don't do it just for the sake of it as a government. There are private labs that are also testing and we have urged them to reduce the price because Sh5,000 is too high.

"We are not charging ourselves, Sh1,000 is for those who go to those government hospitals and present yourselves, not because they have been identified as sick but because for whatever reason they feel that they should be tested," the CS stated.

MoH testing strategy

Head of Public Health Francis Kuria further elaborated that the government has ceased to test asymptomatic suspected cases of the novel infection.

Dr Kuria stated that it is wrong and dangerous for Kenyans to clamour for voluntary testing and urged only those exhibiting symptoms to call the toll free emergency number, 719.

"Those who are jumping from hospital to hospital seeking testing...should know that the way they are seeking to be tested is wrong because our testing strategy is different. We cannot afford to test anyone who wants to be tested so we have drawn out a strategy we are calling the more focused testing strategy.

"We are starting more with those who are symptomatic and these are being identified through the alerts we are receiving from the community. Then we send the rapid response teams. We don't want individuals jumping from homes to every other hospital looking for tests because they are spreading the infection further," Dr Kuria warned.

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