At a time when Uganda badly needs Covid-19 vaccines and ICU beds to put the pandemic at bay, the Ministry of Health has instead decided to buy vehicles to be used for surveillance, transportation of laboratory samples and follow ups.
“A part of the fleet of the 282 double cabin pickups purchased from the COVID-19 response donation funds are in country. The pickups were purchased at a tune of UGX 23.9Bn and will be used for surveillance, transportation of laboratory samples and follow ups.To-date, 121 vehicles have been delivered while the rest are in transit and will be in-country soon.” The Ministry of Health said on Friday.
The Ministry noted that the vehicles will be distributed to all districts of Uganda.
“This was done because the country lacked vehicles for surveillance and transportation of samples and the World Health Organisation (WHO) spent enormously on hiring vehicles which was not sustainable.
Meanwhile, the ministry recently said they target to immunize half of the population but procuring vaccines remains uncertain as one of the main manufacturers India is battling the raging virus at home and prioritizing domestic use.
Currently, the East African country has administered 1,087,152 doses only.
A few days ago, the Minister of Health Jane Ruth Aceng said the government would procure an additional 11 million doses, among which 9 million are AstraZeneca and 2 million Johnson and Johnson.
“The ministry of health has concluded the initial legal requirements to procure 2 million of Johnson and Johnson vaccine through Africa Export-Import Bank and the African Union. The process is ongoing,” said Aceng.
“Legal requirements to procure 9 million doses of vaccines through the COVAX facility under the cost sharing framework have been concluded and funds have been remitted for this. So we wait for feedback on when we can receive the doses from the COVAX facility,” she said.
COVAX is a global initiative to boost the equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.
She said there are ongoing talks to acquire vaccines from Cuba, Russia, China and the United Kingdom in addition to COVAX.
The Ministry of Health recently announced that this month it will receive over 882,600 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine through COVAX. At least 300,000 doses of China’s Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine are also expected to arrive this month.
President Yoweri Museveni has previously said although the country has received doses of the COVID-19 vaccines through donations, it is now considering purchasing the vaccines or even producing them locally if it could secure the necessary raw materials.
Do you have a story in your community or an opinion to share with us: Email us at email@example.com