Ghana: ‘World Bank Won’t Approve Funds for Overpriced Covid Vaccines Purchase’

Pierre Frank Laporte, World Bank Country Director for Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone

Accra, Ghana//-The World Bank has stated categorically that it won’t approve funds for the overpriced COVID-19 vaccines purchase being pursued by the Ghanaian government.

The World Bank Country Director for Ghana, Pierre Frank Laporte, disclosed this at a media interaction in Accra on Monday, assured that the bank is willing and eager to support the government to get vaccines for its citizens but insisted that the bank won’t finance too expensive vaccines purchase.

He said: “If something is overpriced we will not approve it. If the government goes ahead to spend that money then they must refund us. So nothing will happen beyond that the prices that are acceptable internationally”.

“We have an idea of the range of prices. People will quote from $13 per dose to $20 plus dollars per dose for the same thing.

Now it is the duty of the Ministry of Health to manage the prices properly and adequately. Also like I said before our procurement team will insist that the right thing is done”.

Mr Laporte’s comments come at the time when the Ghanaian government is pursuing the overpriced Russia’s Sputnik V for COVID-19 vaccination in the country.

According to the Health Ministry, the $19 price is as a result of the government’s direct negotiation with a businessman rather than seeking to obtain the vaccines on a government to government basis which is cheaper but difficult to push through.

Another document which popped up in the heat of the Sputnik V vaccines brouhaha revealed that the Health Ministry has contracted another supplier, S. L. Global Limited to purchase five million doses of the drug at $26 per dose.   

But the World Bank which has so far disbursed a total of $435 million to Ghana’s government to fight COVID-19 pandemic in the country, maintained that it won’t finance the overpriced Sputnik V vaccines as they are not approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

On 10th June 2021, the bank again approved a $200 million Ghana COVID-19 Emergency Preparedness and Response Project Second Additional Financing.

In collaboration with the COVAX Facility COVID-19 vaccine acquisition the project will provide financing to support the Government of Ghana to procure and deploy COVID-19 vaccines for 13 million people in Ghana.

The project according to Mr Laporte would also strengthen the resilience of Ghana’s health systems to better prepare for the future pandemic and to secure the continuation of essential health and nutrition services, including routine childhood immunization.

The Ghana COVID-19 Emergency Preparedness and Response Project Second Additional Financing will enable the country to explore the acquisition of COVID-19 vaccines from a range of sources to support Ghana’s target to vaccinate  17.5 million people in a way that ensures value-for-money.

The project will also support an equitable and effective distribution of COVID-19 vaccines in line with Ghana’s National Vaccine Deployment Plan.

At the time of going to the press, Ghana has reported the contagious COVID-19 variant, originating from India, the Delta variant, the country’s Ministry of Health confirmed this in a press release issued yesterday.

As at Tuesday 22, June 2021, Ghana’s total COVID-19 case count stood at 95,236, with 93,141 recovered cases, while 794 people sadly lost their lives to the deadly various.

By Masahudu Ankiilu Kunateh, African Eye Report