Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Cabinet instructs Ministry to probe bungled vaccine purchase from Cuba

Cabinet instructs Ministry to probe bungled vaccine purchase from Cuba

CABINET has instructed the Ministry of Health and Social Services to
investigate the bungled N$18 million purchase of medical vaccines from Cuba.

Prime Minister Nahas Angula told The Namibian that Cabinet expressed
concern over the issue and instructed the Ministry of Health to look
into the matter.
Last week Health Minister Richard Kamwi said that as part of
Government's policy to diversify the sourcing of medical supplies,
Cabinet had directed his Ministry during May 2010 "to purchase a
specific percentage of medical products and vaccines from Cuba".
According to the Health Minister, he only became aware of the
"challenges regarding the use of these vaccines in Namibia," and the
fact that the vaccines "were not in line with WHO recommendations" in
January 2011, after the vaccines had arrived in Namibia.
Dismissing media reports that the vaccines had cost N$50 million, Kamwi
said that the actual price was N$18 million, and added that once the
vaccines arrived in Namibia, Cuban experts were brought in "to seek
their understanding if we could swap (the vaccines) with any WHO
pre-qualified medicines".
The swap could however not be carried out due to "technical reasons,"
and following consultations with Cabinet, it was decided that "the best
option was to donate the vaccines back to Havana", Kamwi said.
When asked by journalists on Tuesday whether an investigation would be
conducted into the matter and whether anyone would be held accountable,
Kamwi said that he had acted within his mandate.
However, Angula said that following its instructions to the Ministry of
Health to investigate, Cabinet would await a report from the Ministry
detailing the findings of the investigation.
The Prime Minister said that all the facts needed to be established
before someone could be charged with misconduct.

A document from Chief Pharmacist at the Health Ministry's Central
Medical Stores (CMS) Gilbert Habimana to Kamwi states that he (Habimana)
requested Kahuure to authorise CMS to purchase the Heberpenta
Pentavalent vaccine.
"I confirm that the Permanent Secretary authorised me to proceed with
such purchase," the letter reads. Last week Kamwi also said following
Cabinet's directive for the purchase of medical products and vaccines
from Cuba, he instructed Kahuure to put together a small team of experts
to travel to Cuba and "identify the products which are pre-qualified by
the WHO". The Health Minister added that a team under Habimana's
leadership went to Cuba.
Kamwi also said prior to the team's departure he was approached by
Kahuure who "asked me if he could join the team in order to go and
consult with his counterpart for reasons of expediting the supply to
Namibia, I cleared his trip".
Lydia Muraranganda, Acting Public Relations Officer for the Ministry of
Health said that she was not aware of such a directive from Cabinet, but
that it would be Permanent Secretary Kahijoro Kahuure who would carry
out the investigation.
However, Kahuure is the one who authorised the purchase, according to
Chief Pharmacist in the Ministry of Health.


No comments:

Post a Comment