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Sputnik-V deal: Health Minister’s justification emotional; we cannot dwell on it – Health Advocate

Community health advocate, Mr. Samuel Boateng Arthur, has described as emotional, the justification by Health Minister, Kweku Agyemang Manu, for procuring the controversial Sputnik-V Covid-19 vaccines.

The health advocate who expressed shock at the justification from the Health Minister that he suffered in procuring the vaccines stated that his statement should be treated with the contempt it deserves.

“Once you are given a public position, you are expected to do something extraordinary and the President believes you can work that is why he appointed you, so, I believe his comment is an emotional issue and needs no attention.”

In a conversation with Accra-based Original 91.9FM on Tuesday, June 15, 2021, Mr. Arthur indicated that the minister must understand that he is a minister of state and not of himself and must consult relevant stakeholders on any financial issue but not deciding on his own.”

“I feel this is an emotional response we can’t dwell on it, if not we will shift focus when we pay attention to this response from him.”

“I don’t understand why the minister is worried now, he should know that when something requires to be fixed, you need to go all out to do it” he added.

Kwaku Agyemang Manu, who for the first time publicly commented on the controversy at an event in Accra on Tuesday, June 15, 2021, 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-19 story, but I am glad that with a lot of support from the president and the covid-19 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.

Mr. Agyeman-Manu has wondered why Ghanaians would be ridiculing him in connection with attempts by the government to procure Sputnik V vaccines to shore up Ghana’s immunisation programme against COVID-19.

An investigative report by Norwegian journalists revealed that the Ghanaian government, through the Ministry of Health, has signed an agreement with a private businessman from Dubai to procure the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccines at a higher price by sidestepping regular channels.

According to the investigation, the government was in the process of purchasing the vaccine at US$19 per dose contrary to the manufacturer’s recommended price of $10.

Some critics have also asked for the minister’s sacking or resignation over the matter.

Mr. Boateng Arthur indicated that “if he (Agyeman-Manu) is waiting to write the book later, it won’t help us, he should write it now as he is still the minister so we see how he is suffering as he claims so we can all help him work well”.

“In the spirit of transparency and openness, he should’ve pre-engaged the relevant stakeholders on the scarcity of the vaccine and how much he intends to spend on it, so we wouldn’t have gotten here. He could even issue a statement to that effect and not waiting for another country to publish that information ”

“He should keep calm, we know it’s not an easy job but if he thinks he can’t stand our criticism, he should leave the job for those who can do it to take over”

“However on the principle that he had to buy to save lives, I believe we may not want to think about the amount of money going to be used. But if it becomes difficult that one vaccine will cost $1million, can we still take that decision to buy for thousands of Ghanaians? he quizzes.

“I think we should build and equip our health system to become robust.”


By: Ernestina Afake | | Ghana |

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