The Executive Director of the Africa Centre for Health and Research Analysis says the Health Minister, must find means to procure funds to resolve the shortage in child immunisation vaccines in the country.
According to Dr Thomas Anaba, it is Kwaku Agyemang-Manu and his Ministry’s duty to ensure that the vaccines that are procured into the country do not run out.
He explained that one of the sole responsibilities of the Health Ministry is to compile data on the number of births that occur annually, which is eventually utilised by the ministry to determine the amounts of vaccines to be procured.
Therefore, he criticised Mr. Agyeman-Manu for allowing a statewide scarcity of vaccines, stating that the Minister and his team could tell when the Ministry was running short on vaccine supplies based on the aforementioned facts.
Speaking on JoyNews’ The Probe, Dr Anaba said, “I think the duty lies on the Minister, to know that this [shortage in vaccine] is happening. They have storage facilities that stock all these vaccines.
“Once you give the last dose or the minimum level has reached its point, you have to trigger the process of already getting the goods and coming into the country.
He added that, “You don’t wait to for it to get to the red line before you import. You don’t also wait to for vaccines to get short before you start complaining.
“So, I think that procurement is basically the duty of the Ministe…Agyemang Manu must make sure he gets the money. Wherever he’ll get it, he should.”
Dr Anaba’s comment comes on the back of reports that have indicated that the country has been hit with a shortage in some childhood vaccines.
The Ministry of Health failed to secure a procurement of these essential vaccines since the beginning of the year 2023.
The vaccines in question that have been scarce nationwide are BCG, which is needed to primarily prevent the occurrence of tuberculosis in babies, and OPV, which is to prevent polio infections.
Other vaccines to prevent diseases such as whooping cough and measles are also out of supply.
Speaking before parliament’s committee on health, officials of the Health Ministry and the Ghana Health Service blamed this shortage on various factors, which included the recent rapid cedi depreciation.
Some Members of Parliament such as the Ranking Member on the Health Committee of Parliament, Kwabena Mintah Akandoh have contended that the justifications proffered by the Ministry of Health and the Ghana Health Service for the scarcity of child vaccination nationwide were untenable.
Dr Anaba also said on The Probe that he found it difficult to comprehend that Ghana’s failure to implement a globally recognised, elaborate vaccination program, which was followed by every nation, was due to financial challenges.
He questioned where the nation’s money had gone and highlighted that, Ghana was fond of making mistakes when it came to procurement at the Ministry of Health, particularly for vaccines.
Dr Anaba told the host, Blessed Sogah, “We made those mistakes when it came to procurement of Corona Virus medication, now we are making the same mistake for a programme vaccination that is world-wide understood that if you have these vaccines, these illnesses will not be manifested in your country.”
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