The Health Minister, Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, has assured that some essential childhood vaccines will be available within the next few weeks.
Addressing the Press on Tuesday, March 7, Mr Agyemang-Manu failed to give the exact time the vaccines will arrive in the country.
“Working with UNICEF, we are fast-tracking the processes, and it is expected that the vaccines would be supplied in the next few weeks All things being equal.”
The Minister also refuted reports that some babies have died from the recent measles outbreak due to the unavailability of childhood vaccines.
Several parts of the country have been hit with a shortage of vaccines in the last few months despite claims by the National Health Insurance Authority that over GH¢70 million has been released for the procurement of the vaccines.
The Minority in Parliament has described the shortage of vaccines in the country as a clear indication of the government’s ineptitude.
The group said despite the allocation of about GH¢72 million for the procurement of vaccines, the country has been hit with the outbreak of Measles since October 2022 due to the shortage of vaccines.
Speaking to journalists, the Ranking Member on the Health Committee of Parliament, Kwabena Mintah Akandoh said the Health Minister, Kwaku Agyemang-Manu must step aside if he cannot effectively deliver on his mandate.
“We started recording measles vaccine shortages around October 2022 and this is an emergency situation and the minister and the government have failed and continue to look on several months on.
This is highly unacceptable especially when these vaccines are not over-the-counter medicines that people can walk in and buy them. These vaccines are very sensitive and highly protected by organizations and states so if we don’t have the vaccines, all the children in this country are at very high risk, especially in the Northern part of the country.”
Meanwhile, the Paediatric Society of Ghana has revealed that over 500 cases of measles have so far been recorded in the country due to the unavailability of essential vaccines.
Dr Hilda Boye, the newly elected President of the Paediatric Society of Ghana said the situation is quite worrying because the delay in the arrival of the vaccines can potentially escalate the disease.
“As we speak, we are looking at about 500 suspected cases of measles. So we are worried because we are just sitting and watching, and it is getting worse by the day and that is expected also because it is an infectious disease, and we really shouldn’t have come to this place in the first place.