The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has received funds totaling $6.4 million for the provision of three essential childhood vaccines that are in limited supply in Ghana, according to the Minister of Health Kwaku Agyemang-Manu.
The Health Minister stated that some crucial shipping and buying operations are part of the causes for the supply delay when he testified before Parliament on Thursday, March 9, to address concerns about the shortages.
When Theresa Awuni, a member of parliament for the Okaikoi North district, inquired about the price of the immunizations, the Minister revealed that “we have made payments of about $6.4 million of the Cedi equivalent to UNICEF who supplies us the vaccines.”
On Friday, Mr. Agyeman Manu revealed this on the floor of the legislature.
The guarantee from the health minister follows extensive concerns about a scarcity of childhood vaccines.
Due to the Ministry of Health’s inability to purchase these vaccines since the year started, Ghana ran out of crucial BCG and OPV doses.
While the OPV is mainly required to prevent polio infections, the BCG vaccine is primarily needed to prevent the development of tuberculosis in infants.
There is also a shortage of other crucial immunizations to stop illnesses like measles, whooping cough, etc.
The Northern Region has experienced a measles outbreak due to an immunization scarcity.
Health Minister also revealed that the National Health Insurance Authority distributed a sizable portion of the money for the immunizations in installments.
“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 totalled 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.”