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Deputy Speaker Tayebwa calls for regulation of DNA paternity laboratories

Health

Deputy Speaker Tayebwa calls for regulation of DNA paternity laboratories

The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Thomas Tayebwa, has urged the government to implement regulations for the growing number of DNA paternity laboratories in the country. He also emphasized the need for counselling services to support men who find themselves in challenging situations.

During the plenary on Tuesday, Deputy Speaker Tayebwa requested Prime Minister Rt Hon Robinah Nabbanja to provide guidance on conducting DNA tests without causing harm to families or disrupting the lives of innocent children.

Tayebwa emphasized the sensitivity of the DNA matter and urged the government not to overlook it. He stated, “We need the Right Honourable Prime Minister to address the nation on this matter and explore the best ways to counsel those affected. Perhaps, with proper regulations in place, we can prevent the negative consequences associated with it.”

He called for the government to regulate DNA laboratory centers to prevent the dissemination of false results that could potentially break families apart. Tayebwa acknowledged that DNA testing facilities are now easily accessible, but stressed the importance of proper regulation and management.

Tayebwa expressed concern for innocent children who become unwitting victims of the recent surge in DNA testing. He described the confusion and distress caused by sudden revelations about paternity, leading to identity crises and strained relationships.

The Deputy Speaker highlighted the challenges faced by men, urging society to recognize the plight they experience. He also acknowledged that men who undergo DNA testing often have their own personal issues to contend with, including situations where other individuals may be taking care of their children.

Faith Nakut, the Napak District Woman Member of Parliament, supported the call for action. She suggested that the Ministry of Health should classify DNA testing as a restricted procedure to protect the mental well-being of children and prevent the negative consequences faced by men, including suicides and child abandonment. Nakut further highlighted concerns about individuals falsifying DNA results to shirk their responsibilities towards the children they are supposed to care for.

Lower Madi County MP Ronald Afidra Olema emphasized the importance of safeguarding the future of children, underscoring the need for both parents’ involvement. He questioned why some men were now expressing complaints, while many women continue to care for children without issues.

In response to these concerns, Dr Chris Baryomunsi, the Minister for ICT and National Guidance, assured the parliament that an assessment of the DNA laboratories would be conducted to determine their accreditation status. He acknowledged the concerns raised about the laboratories and the tests they perform.

The Ministry of Health had already initiated discussions with various lab managers, and an assessment would be carried out to ensure compliance with accreditation standards. Dr Baryomunsi expressed bewilderment over the increasing number of married men seeking DNA tests, referring to it as a “pandemic” that needed to be addressed.

The Parliament’s discussions shed light on the urgent need for regulation and support regarding DNA paternity testing. The government’s commitment to assessing the accreditation status of laboratories and addressing the concerns raised demonstrates its dedication to finding a balanced approach that safeguards the interests and well-being of all parties involved.

Sarah K. Biryomumaisho is a Multimedia journalist (Broadcast & Writing) with 11 years of experience. She holds a Diploma in Business Administration from Makerere Business Institute and a Certificate in Media Management from Women in News. She completed a Course in Wikimedia in 2020, making her one of the very few Wikipedia Editors in the country. She also has a certificate in Gender Justice Reporting from The International Women's Media Foundation, IWMF. She has worked with a number of media houses including 6 Radio stations, most recently Galaxy fm 100.2 & Radio 4. She has worked with Andariya Magazine as a writer. Sarah worked as a Digital Communications consultant for the newly revived Uganda Airlines and is also a Digital enthusiast. She owns a Media Organization called TheUgPost that publishes in Uganda and has a global reach. Twitter; https://twitter.com/BiryomumaishoB

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