Vaccine Shortage: Gov’t pays $6.4 million to UNICEF for supplies – Health Minister reveals
As part of government’s effort to deal with the shortage of some childhood killer disease’ vaccines, about $6.4 million has been paid to the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) for supplies.
The amount is to ensure the supply of three key childhood vaccines that have become scarce across the country.
This was revealed by the Minister for Health, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu when he appeared before Parliament on Thursday, March 9, 2023.
Commenting on the shortage, Mr. Agyeman-Manu explained that some key procurement and shipping activities are part of the reasons for the delay in the supply further disclosing that an amount of $6.4 million have been paid to UNICEF for the supplies.
“We have made payments of about $6.4 million of the Cedi equivalent to UNICEF who supplies us the vaccines,” the Minister for Health noted.
Detailing how the said amount was disbursed, he revealed that a chunk of the payment was released by the National Health Insurance Scheme in tranches.
He said, “I have a template on how these monies were released; the NHIA transferred GH¢25 million in June 2022. We also had another GH¢10.5 million in October, we had GH¢13.1 in November and the last tranche was around GH¢23 million in December. All of these totaled GH¢71.8 million, and we budgeted this amount on the basis of GH¢6 to the dollar, but we are all aware that the Cedi was not trading at that amount, so we had shortfalls in the dollar equivalence and that is what caused the delays.”
Ghana has been hit with acute childhood vaccine shortages since October 2022 which has left thousands of babies across the country unvaccinated. The Minister failed to give a definite timeline for the supply of the vaccines.