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‘Only God knows how I suffered to procure vaccines for my people’ – Health Minister justifies controversial Sputnik-V deal

The Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, has justified the government’s procurement of Sputnik-V vaccines despite concerns about the cost involved.

The government has come under intense pressure following its decision to use intermediaries to secure over three million Sputnik-V vaccines at a cost of 19 dollars instead of 10 dollars on the international market.

The Minister of Health has equally been taken on for the procurement, with the Minority threatening to drag him before Parliament for securing the vaccines at an above-standard price.

Speaking at the launch of the Pest and Vector Control Association of Ghana in Accra, the Minister further explained that the procurement was due to the second wave of COVID-19 which had already claimed many lives.

“I had an obligation to try to see how we can arrive at our herd immunity. When we started looking for vaccines to procure, intermediaries were not part of our agenda. We were looking at what we will get from COVAX.  We could not have waited between March and August because we were in the second wave, and we were dying even more than when we had the disease in 2020.”

However, the Member of Parliament for Juaboso in the Western North Region, Kwabena Mintah Akandoh, who is also the Ranking Member on the Health Committee of Parliament had called for the resignation of Mr. Agyemang Manu, stating that, actions would be taken because the Ministry’s justification for securing the vaccines at an above-standard price is unacceptable and very difficult to believe.

Kwaku Agyemang Manu, who for the first time publicly commented on the controversy indicated that at the time of the agreement Ghana was hit by the second wave of COVID-19.

He explained that he took the risk to save the lives of many at the time demand had outstripped supply worldwide.

“Basic economics will tell you that in terms of scarcity, the market is the suppliers’ market. He or she dictates the price, not the buyer. And I am surprised, we all learned these things at O-level, so why should I be a subject of ridicule in this country?” he asked.

“I have a very long Covid story, but I am glad that with a lot of support from the president and the covid taskforce that was inter-ministerial, we have managed to get the diseases to a level that we are now”.

“…… I have suffered, I have suffered and Ghanaians should take kindly with me. I told the President I will put my neck on the line so let them castigate me, I will write my Covid story but I think these experiences only enrich the story and probably make me get a lot more” he averred.


By: Ernestina Afake | | Ghana

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