The Ranking Member on the Health Committee of Parliament, Kwabena Mintah Akandoh says he is disappointed in President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo- Addo for failing to provide clear timelines on the procurement 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.
President Akufo-Addo in his State of the Nation Address on March 8, 2023, said steps have been taken to ensure the vaccines are procured and supplied as a matter of emergency.
“In accordance with our desire not to become part of this global trend, Government has taken steps to ensure that stocks of these vaccines are procured and supplied, as a matter of emergency. The Ghana Health Service has developed an elaborate programme to catch up on children who have missed their vaccinations immediately stocks arrive.
“I want to encourage all parents and caregivers to ensure that eligible children are vaccinated, once this programme begins. No child should be denied access to vaccination. Mercifully, so far, not a single child has died as a result of the outbreak,” the President said.
But speaking to journalists, Kwabena Mintah Akandoh said the government is denying children access to good health care with the shortage of vaccines in the country.
“What is the meaning of emergency? What is the meaning of soon? They should be telling us the timelines. In the first place, we shouldn’t have gotten here. It looks like the President doesn’t appreciate the essence of urgency. For me, I’m simply uncomfortable and disappointed”.
“He had the opportunity to vaccinate his children and grandchildren. Children are born today and every minute, and they have no opportunity to be vaccinated. You are denying the people the right to good healthcare which is against the constitution of the land. In some jurisdictions, this is a crime for Christ’s sake, and I’m getting emotional about it,” the MP laments.
However, the former Member of Parliament for Mpraeso, who currently serves as the Eastern Regional Minister, Seth Acheampong disagrees.
“He [President] said that no child will be left out without a vaccination, that is a promise and that is what we have to follow through. By the end of the vaccination period, if a child is left unvaccinated, then we know that he lied to us, but this is so early to say so,” the former MP said.