The Ministry of Health has issued a ban on Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) paternity relationship testing centers from advertising their services. The ban applies to both laboratories that collect samples and conduct paternity relationship testing and facilities that solely collect samples and send them to another laboratory for testing.
The Ministry stated that any DNA center found promoting its services would face the revocation of its license. These measures were revealed during the national laboratory sector performance review meeting in Kampala, where Dr. Suzan Nabadda, the commissioner-in-charge of laboratory services at the Ministry of Health, explained that these guidelines aim to ensure the quality of DNA test results.
The guidelines require facilities to be legally registered, provide proof of ownership of their premises, possess a certificate of registration, and hold a valid license from either the Allied Health Professionals’ Council or the Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioner’s Council. Additionally, facilities must adhere to standard operating procedures for pre and post-test counseling, as well as follow the ministry’s guidelines for sample collection, packaging, storage, and shipment.
In cases where a facility transfers collected samples to an accredited DNA testing laboratory, a valid material transfer agreement must be in place, approved by the director general of health services, Dr. Henry Mwebesa.
The demand for paternity testing has been increasing in the country, leading the government to take these regulatory steps, despite concerns from some feminists and marriage counselors who believe such testing can strain family relationships.