The Ministry of Health (MoH), through greed on the part of a cabal, is slaughtering rural folks who are in urgent need of Anti-Snake Serum that is in short supply throughout the country.
Ghana has run out of the all-important serum for well over one year and processes to procure stocks for delivery are being stifled by an empire at the MoH who want to see their favourite Indian companies handling the assignment, although there are serious procurement breaches on the part of the companies, forcing the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) to disqualify them.
What is making the whole situation very murky is the fact that complaints from areas where people are dying from snake bites have been ignored.
The Inquisitor newshounds have it that various hospitals in the northern parts of the country where the serum is much-needed do not have any.
Not even the areas within the region where the Health Minister, Mr. Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, comes from could boast of anti-snake serum.
For instance, there have been deaths at Kintampo in the Bono East Region, which was part of the Brong Ahafo Region where the minister comes from.
There are murmurings within the corridors of the MoH that attention would have been given to the anti-snake serum shortage if snake-bite deaths had occurred at Accra, Kumasi or any of the other big cities.
What is shocking is the fact none of the Members of Parliament from the areas that the anti-snake serum is needed has been able to question the status quo.
The Inquisitor has also been told by medical experts that the efficacy of anti-snake serum at various shops around the country is questionable and very expensive.
Last February, a middle-aged man narrated how he had to cough up some GHC1,600 to purchase a serum at Sawla to save his dying son, who had been bitten by a snake.
Dr. Ekow Kaitoo. Municipal Health Director of New Juaben in the Eastern Region, also raised the alarm in February, this year, of shortage of anti-snake serum throughout the country.
At the time, he said that the stuff was not readily available and that farmers would have serious crisis in the rainy season when there are snake bites.
Moves To Procure Anti-Snake Serum
The MoH instead of fast-tracking moves to procure anti-snake serum is embarking on open dirty underhand dealings to make sure favourite companies grab supply contracts.
The MoH has not been able to do the needful because the PPA disqualified Pharmanova Export PVT and Pharmanova Ghana Limited for procurement breaches.
The MoH had approved budget of GHC23, 500.000.00 in its procurement plan for the supply of some 50,000 vials of anti-snake venom.
The PPA had to step in stop the supply contract that had been awarded to Pharmanova Export PVT after investigation into a petition by one of the companies that tendered for the contract and felt short-changed.
The principal actors at the helm of affairs at the MoH with huge interest in the anti-snake serum procurement are reported to have lied to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo about the status of the procurement of the supplies.
However, those elements had been exposed as lying to the President because the reasons that quotations of companies that were qualified after the PPA had disqualified the Indian companies were far above what the MoH had budgeted were false.
It is instructive to know that the PPA ordered the MoH to overturn and duly annul a contract to Pharmanova PVT of India to supply the anti-snake serum.
Two Ghanaian companies, Kinapharma Limited and AS-TESCO Investment Company Limited, were therefore left in the race, but the MoH had other plans to scuttle the supply of the anti-serum by either of the two companies.
Kinapharma Limited quoted GHC20, 000,000.00 while AS-TESCO Investment Company Limited quoted GHC20, 750,000.00 which were far below GHC23, 335,000.00 quoted by the MoH’s darling Pharmanova Ghana Limited.
The Inquisitor has been told of a lavish party that Pharmanova allegedly threw for top government officials in far away India not long ago when they attended an Expo event in that country, something the President may not be aware of (Full Story In Offing).
At the said Cabinet meeting that the President was deceived, he was told that the quotations of Kinapharma and AS-TESCO Investment Company Limited were far above what the ministry had budgeted for the all-important serum needed to save lives.
The MoH had approved a budget of GHC23, 500.000.00 in its procurement plan for the supply of some 50,000 vials of anti-snake venom.
It stands to reason that the two Ghanaian companies’ quotations were reasonable as compared to that Pharmanova Export PVT.
Pharmanova Export PVT and Pharmanova Ghana Limited were disqualified because of double complementary bidding by two related companies.
Both companies were represented by the same person at the tender opening.
Per the PPA findings after one of the companies petitioned it, the product offered by Pharmanova India was not duly registered with the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) but the MoH ignored it.
Apart from that, the MoH failed to evaluate key clinical performance of the products presented by Pharmanova Export PVT and Pharmanova Ghana Limited.