Members of Parliament in the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville) have expressed displeasure over the high cost of COVID-19 tests in the country which have gone up from 20,000 FCFA (about $40) to 50,000 FCFA (about $100).
The peoples’ representatives made their feelings known during an oral question-and-answer session of parliament on Friday, Nov. 12.
Parliamentarians said they were unhappy with the test charges which they judged “very high” for a people already suffering under the weight of excruciating circumstances due to the negative economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
One of the country’s political parties, the Union Panafricaine pour la Democratie Sociale (UPADS) in a declaration suggested to the government to make COVID-19 tests and vaccination free of charge to allow access by the low-income group to tests and the vaccines.
The party which was created by former Congolese president, Professor Pascal Lissouba, denounced what it termed “the commercialisation to which the health crises has been subjected especially as concerns the exorbitant cost of COVID-19 tests.”
The party said the COVID-19 pandemic is a public health problem and as such, the population must benefit from gratuitous treatment and other medical interventions as has been the case with the HIV/AIDS.
“In the absence of any law instituting obligatory vaccination in the country within the context of the fight against the pandemic, voluntary vaccination must be done without pressure,” UPADS declared in the statement.
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