The Data and Advocacy Consult has commended the Minister of Health, Mr Kwaku Agyeman Manu for the work he has done since the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Although the Group noted some inconsistencies in the procurement process of the covid vaccines, they were of the belief that the minister has been forthright with the country and has shown he is also human and could make mistakes.
It will be recalled that the Health Minister who appeared before Parliament on July 19, revealed that he was unable to seek approval from Parliament before signing an agreement with Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum to procure Sputnik V vaccines.
That, according to the Minister was because he was frustrated and couldn’t think ‘properly’ due to his desire to prevent further deaths related to Covid-19.
It was also disclosed that some clauses in the Ministry of Health’s 64 million dollar contract for supply of Sputnik vaccines are in breach of FDA regulations, as well as biased and skewed against the state.
Speaking at a Press conference in Accra on Thursday, July 29, 2021, the Executive Director of Data and Advocacy Consult Ghana, Mr Felix Asirifi expressed the belief that Mr Agyeman Manu chose the health and safety of Ghanaians over procedural measures.
“We do acknowledge as an organisation, that there have been some issues regarding procurement of vaccines for the country, but on the balance can we say the government or the Ministry or the Minister has been bad in managing the situation in its totality? Can we conclude the Health Minister has been bad at his job? Are we measuring his performance by one isolated incident? Are we saying that his choice of saving lives rather than following the due process in the heat of the pandemic was a bad choice?,” he quizzed.
Mr Felix Asirifi also said, “The Minister has been honest, and emphasis must be placed on the word honest, in his submission to the committee in acknowledging that there were some issues as regards the procurement of the vaccine, would we rather as a country prefer that the Minister shift the blame or found other means of hiding this, or we will rather prefer his honesty with the issues surrounding the purchase of the vaccine. Our answer to this question should reflect the kind of public servants we seek to train.”
“We are not by this statement in anyway stating that public officials should be encouraged to hide behind any excuses to expend public funds without due diligence. However, we will support any public official who is honest in his duty to the mandate given him, he said.
Mr Felix Asirifi also noted that Data on Worldometer.com today, attest to the fact that Ghana still stands as one of the countries with one of the lowest infection and death rates per population, adding that this feat was chalked with the immense contribution of the Minster for Health.
“The history of covid-19 will never be written without the mention of the leadership of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo and the Health Minister, Mr Agyeman Manu. Even in the face of being infected and having been admitted to ICU, the Minister gave leadership by surviving the disease and giving hope to those that have been affected and also returning to the field to fight against the pandemic,” he said.
He added that, “We want to appeal to parliament to use this report in framing laws to forestall such eventualities when we are in difficult times and the laid down rules regarding procurement could be bypassed.”
Mr Felix Asirifi therefore encouraged the Health Minister to be focused on the good job done so far because covid is still within the country.
“We are also by this encouraging the Minister to be focused on the good job done so far because covid is still within our borders. And to be encouraged by the number of lives he and his team have saved by the grace of God and a dint of hard work,” he added.