KAMPALA- One of the suspects who was arrested at Naguru-China Friendship Hospital after asking the State Minister for Health, Ms Sarah Opendi, for a bribe, has been masquerading as a laboratory technologist for six years without any qualifications.
Andrew Kalule was arrested after he asked Ms Opendi for Shs150,000 to perform tests recommended by the doctor.
On Friday morning, dressed in a hijab and a veil to disguise herself, Ms Opendi visited Naguru-China Friendship Hospital seeking medical services.
“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 [the supposedly] free services,” she said.
“I went to the doctor who I informed about my sickness. The doctor then recommended that I do some tests including: liver function test, diabetes and Hepatitis B,” she added.
It was at the main laboratory where the minister was directed, that Mr Kalule asked for a bribe to perform the tests and was soon after arrested.
After being interrogated by detectives of the State House Monitoring Unit led by Mr Collins Karugaba, it was discovered that he has been masquerading as a laboratory technologist since 2011 yet he has no qualifications.“It’s true, the suspect we arrested confessed that he is not qualified to work in the laboratory and he has been fleecing patients since 2011. This indicates there is a syndicate so we shall also probe the hospital administration,” said Mr Karugaba.
Ms Christine Namanda, a nursing assistant, was the second person to be arrested after allegedly asking for Shs5,000 in order to avail testing strips used to diagnose diabetes.
Ms Namanda who had just returned from maternity leave told journalists that the testing strips were out of stock at hospital but would only be availed at a cost.
The deputy hospital director, Dr Stephen Kyebambe, applauded the minister for helping them expose staff who have been extorting money from patients.
However, several health workers who spoke to this reporter after the arrest of their colleagues indicated that they work under awful conditions which tempt them to ask for money from patients in order to survive.
Ms Opendi said the suspects will be taken to the Anti-Corruption Court over corruption charges.