President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has assured the people of Ghana that his administration is assisting state institutions in the health sector to ensure that Coronavirus vaccines are manufactured locally.
Mr Akufo-Addo noted that Ghana and the other developing countries cannot continue to rely on foreign taxpayers for support in the event of a pandemic of this nature.
To that end, he said, he is determined to ensure that the country is self-sufficient.
The President was answering a question relating to the progress of the vaccination exercise against the virus, at a special dialogue and also the launch of Ghana’s SDGs country financing roadmap in Accra.
He said “unfortunately, we are the victims of this worldwide shortage of vaccines. The poorer, less advantaged nations are experiencing challenges to access the vaccines. That is a major challenge for us, the procurement and the issues if logistics involved in it.
“The pandemic has provided us a very important lesson among the many lessons that Covid has revealed to us, the need for self-reliance in future in these areas.
“We cannot continue to be dependent on arms and on charity of foreigners and foreign tax payers for our basic sustenance. We need to be able to put in place structures that will enable us in future not to be caught pant down.
“We have to learn and find the avenue to pruduce our own vaccines and I am . I am particularly keen on providing the assistance to the intuitions of our country to do so.”
Meanwhile, Ghana has been cited in an investigative report in a Norwegian newspaper Vergens Gang for agreeing to procure the Sputnik V vaccines from a businessman at a unit price of $19 instead of $10.
The Ministry of Health has justified the purchase of Sputnik V vaccines at almost double the factory price, emphasising the negotiations were held at a time of scarcity of the products across the globe.
But a statement issued by the Ministry of Health on Wednesday, June 9 said: “We were torn between accepting the price to enable us have access to the vaccine or facing the situation of the seller withdrawing from the negotiations, to the extent that the 15,000 doses that had been shipped to Ghana were going to be rerouted to other countries.”
The statement signed by the Chief Director of the Ministry, Kwabena Boadu Oku-Afari, noted that the government was unable to obtain direct supplies of the vaccines from the Russian government and so had to resort to one Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for the supplies.
According to the Ministry, $10 was the ex-factory price but the Emirati offered to sell the vaccines at $25 per dose.
This was slashed by $6 after negotiations, according to the statement.
This is the result of the cost build-up to the ex-factory price of US$10 per dose, taking into account land transportation, shipment, insurance, handling and special storage charges, as explained by the seller.
“These are the factors which led us to agree the final price of US$19 per dose,” the Ministry stressed.
It has assured Ghanaians that “it will endeavour to secure vaccines for the Ghanaian people, despite global shortages and cognisant of price and legal considerations”.