Okudzeto Drops Diplomatic ‘Secret’

The Member of Parliament (MP) for North Tongu constituency, in the Volta Region, has alleged that the recent consignment of Bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG), Measles-Rubella (MR) and Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) vaccines, received by government, were borrowed from Nigeria and the Ivory Coast.

In the view of Mr. Samuel Okudzeto-Ablakwa, the government should not shy away from showing appreciation to the two neighbourcountries,after officialsat the helm of affairs at Ministry of Health, as well as the Ghana Health Service (GHS),failed to procure these child immunization vaccines on time.

The MP, who has turned himself into a self-acclaimed citizen vigilante,said that,the government has reached out to Nigeria and Ivory Coast, while it waits for its own consignments to arrive in about three weeks.

According to him, the consignment from Nigeria and Ivory Coast is not free because after Ghana receives its order, she would have to return same to the two countries.

In a statement posted on his Facebook page and sighted by The Anchor, the lawmaker said, “Yesterday’s consignment came in from Nigeria as a benevolent gesture which the Ghanaian government has promised to replace when it finally puts its house in order.

There is absolutely nothing wrong saying THANK YOU to a neighbour who exhibits superior public health policies, better prioritization, and who responds positively and swiftly when you come begging.”

The disclosure by the MP comes barely 24 hours after the GHS and the Information Ministry, separately, announced the arrival of these vaccines and the onward distribution of same.

Recall that last Sunday March 12, the government received these vaccines after months of shortage of vaccines.

In a press statement on social media, the Information Ministry shared pictures of the GHS receiving the vaccines at the airport, noting that they have already begun distributing them to various regions and facilities.

The Director-General of the Service, Dr. Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, led a delegation to receive the consignment at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) last Saturday.

“More vaccines expected in Ghana in the coming weeks from multiple sources,” the Information Ministry added.

The Service, in just a sentence on Facebook, said “Ghana receives first consignment of measles, BCG and oral polio vaccines today.” Interestingly, the two statements failed to indicate where the first consignment was coming from or who lent them to the government.

But Mr.Okudzeto-Ablakwa said Ghana should do the needful by expressing her appreciation to Nigeria and not appear ungrateful to a sister nation.

“The Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government should not be embarrassed to admit that it reached out to Nigeria and Côte d’Ivoire for urgent bailout on Ghana’s avoidable and indefensible shortage of childhood vaccines.

Ghanaian officials should not be concealing this fact and therefore appearing ungrateful within the comity of nations, even though I acknowledge that an honest and transparent narrative from government will further expose false claims by President Akufo-Addo during his Message on the State of the Nation last week that childhood vaccine shortage was a global phenomenon,” he wrote.


He went further saying “Ghana’s childhood vaccine crisis could have been prevented if the Akufo-Addo government had not ineptly ignored WHO stock-out warnings since July last year.

We must be profoundly grateful to Nigeria for their kindness, however, I do hope the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia administration will find a permanent solution as the Nigerian donation can only last for 6 weeks.

Ghana First.”

In a follow-up interview on Accra FM’s ‘Citizen Show’ yesterday, Monday March 13, the MP said his sources within the diplomatic circles indicate that President Akufo-Addo himself went “begging for a bailout” from both Nigeria and Ivory Coast, for this support.

He told host Kwabena Bobie Ansah, the consignment from the Nigeria government will last six weeks by which time Ghana’s order would have arrived.

Ivory Coast, on its part, he said is “about to respond,” adding that his sources have hinted him that the diplomats are not enthused about the apparent silence on where the government received the vaccines from and the no show of appreciation to Africa’s most populous country.

Additionally, Mr.Ablakwa said his information is that, the Nigerian government had agreed to give Ghana the vaccines because she has excess of the vaccines. Last week, the Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, while briefing Parliament on steps being taking to acquire the vaccines, attributed the shortage of the vaccines to a global shortage.

But reacting to this comment, Mr.Ablakwa said the minister peddled untruth because there is no such shortage anywhere. “I can confirm to you that there is no shortage,” he said.

He disclosed that Mr. Agyeman-Manu has been ordered by the World Health Organization (WHO) to withdraw the claim and that in the coming days Ghanaians should expect that withdrawal of the statement, failure to which the country’s engagements with the organization may suffer going forward.

The MP said he can authoritatively say that WHO is not happy about the statement by Mr. Agyeman-Manu because what he said was a “total fabrication.”

Last week, Mr. Agyeman-Manu told Parliament the government has made all the necessary payments to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) for the supply of childhood immunisation vaccines that are short in the country.

He said the ministry placed the order for the vaccines a week ago with the UNICEF, adding that the ministry was currently working with UNICEF to fast-track the process to address the vaccine shortage.

Mr. Agyeman-Manu said, “We are making all necessary efforts to ensure that we secure adequate stocks of childhood vaccines that are short in the country within the next two to three weeks, all things being equal.

It is expected that the vaccines will be supplied in the next two to three weeks, all things being equal,” he said.

Source : Anchorghana

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