Two Ugandan medical workers were caught in the act of corruption by a patient unlike any other, the Ugandan Minister of Health, whom they charged for services that should normally be free.
Sarah Opendi, the Ugandan health minister wore a veil when she arrived on Friday in a boda-boda (motorcycle taxi) at the Naguru hospital in the capital Kampala, in order to avoid being recognized.
“I had received many complaints about the hospital staff extorting money from patients,” Opendi told the AFP.
She explained that while she was posing as an ordinary patient, she was asked to pay 150,000 shillings (35 euros) for laboratory tests “which are supposed to be free”.
“I told him I did not have any money but he (the worker) insisted,” she said.
She was then referred to a nursing assistant to obtain test strips. Again, he was asked for money.
“I paid her and then I called the police who arrested the two workers,” the minister added.
Deputy Hospital Director Stephen Kyebambe thanked Ms. Opendi for getting them arrested: “The minister must be congratulated for bringing up the racketeering of these scammers in our hospital.”
Taking money off patients is common in Ugandan public hospitals, where some categories of medical workers are paid only 60 euros per month.