Health Minister Kweku Agyemang Manu says massive frustrations to procure COVID vaccines for the country, compelled him to disregard parliamentary approval as required by Article 181 5 of the 1992 constitution.
According to him, he was desperate to get the vaccines and was frustrated because regular vaccine supply sources failed and people Ghanaians were dying.
Answering questions from the Adhoc Committee of Parliament tasked to probe the controversial Sputnik V vaccines procurement agreement with Dubai-based Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum on Monday, July 19, 2021, Hon. Kweku Agyemang Manu said he had plans to formally seek parliamentary approval after independently approving the $64.6 million dollar contract.
“Let be brief my colleagues with the situation that I was in which moved me to do this that has warranted this inquisition and brought me here. February was the worse month since COVID hit us, we lost 78 lives. Even when we got the first consignment of COVAX of 600,000 doses, the normal planning was to wait and get our systems running within three weeks before we vaccinate. But at a COVID meeting, we realize that we didn’t have space and so let’s just begin to vaccinate in five days so we cut down the timing of our own planning to five days and Ghana Health Service with our vaccinators and a robust EPI managed to start vaccinating with the COVAX 600,000 very quickly.
We were expecting some more doses but we were informed the allocations that had given us could not happen and people were dying. February -78, March -56, these were the numbers and if any of us here were the Health Minister at the time, you might have taken certain decisions which upon hindsight and going forward you would not have done those things. This was the environment that I found myself in, out of desperation, frustration…so many things. People were dying and we needed to protect our citizens did those things, that is all. So I want you to bear these things in mind that I was not in normal times at all.”