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No vaccines: Lives of newborns at risk as GHs72m released to Health Ministry remain unaccounted for


Mr. Kwaku Agyeman-Manu – Minister for Health

Three essential vaccines against childhood killer diseases are lacking in hospitals nationwide, putting the lives of babies at risk.

Some GH¢72 million reportedly released to the Ministry of Health for the purchase of these essential vaccines for babies cannot be accounted for. 

This is despite the confirmation by the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) that the last tranche of the money was paid in January this year.

Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Patrick Kuma-Aboagye has already assured the populace that some of the drugs will be coming in two weeks.

But Ranking Member on the Health Committee, Kwabena Mintah Akandoh wants them to account for the money.

Speaking to JoyNews, Mr Akandoh said he did not have confidence in the assurances that were given by the Director General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS).

 “With what we heard, there’s no hope so, we have told them that they should come back with their minister, and they said they can come back on the 7th of March. So, we are meeting them on the 7th of March to listen to them,” he said on Joy FM, Wednesday.

Mr Akandoh reiterated his readiness to demand answers from the Minister when he appears before the Health Committee.

“Don’t forget that I’ve heard the Director General of the Ghana Health Service speaking all over saying that in one week or two weeks to take delivery of some vaccines, so we are waiting. On the 7th, we are meeting them. And by then, I know that these two weeks would have elapsed.”

According to reports, Ghana has run out of essential BCG and OPV vaccines due to the failure of the Ministry of Health to secure procurement of these vaccines since the year began.

The BCG vaccine is primarily needed to prevent the occurrence of tuberculosis in babies, while the OPV is to prevent polio infections.

Other essential vaccines to prevent diseases such as measles and whooping cough are also in short supply.

On Tuesday, February 28, officials of the Health Ministry and the Ghana Health Service, while addressing parliament’s committee on health, blamed their failure to procure the much-needed vaccines on various factors, including the recent rapid cedi depreciation.

But Mr Akandoh says the Ministry of Health and Ghana Health Service authorities’ justifications for the scarcity of child vaccination nationwide are untenable.

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