Middlemen eye N$583m from Covid vaccine procurement

17 March 2021 | Health


Vaccines: N$535m

Training: N$23m

Research and monitoring: N$16m

Public education: N$4.3m

Clinical evaluation: N$2.3m

Regulatory and legal: N$1.3m


The health ministry, which recently got exemption from Treasury to spend N$583 million to procure Covid-19 vaccines, says it has resorted to an open bidding process due to bureaucracy in getting the vaccine to Namibia.

Despite public outcry questioning the use of middlemen instead of approaching the manufacturers, the ministry vowed that the open international sourcing mode being explored is a fail-safe system to enable Namibia to obtain the required vaccines more speedily in case other methods continue to experience delays.

Health minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula, in his submission to finance minister dated 18 February, said N$535 million would be spent on procuring the vaccine, logistics and cold facilities for storage purposes.

“In line with the Covid-19 vaccine deployment plan, goods, services and physical structures are required in order to facilitate the deployment of the vaccine to the communities,” he said.

Furthermore, N$23.4 million will be spent on training, service delivery and supervision, while N$16.1 million will be channelled towards research, monitoring, evaluation and surveillance.

The health ministry has also allocated N$1.3 million to cater for regulatory and legal costs as well as N$4.3 million for public education.

Another N$2.3 million has been allocated to scientific and clinical evaluations.

Shangula said the exemption will only be used to solicit offers on an emergency basis from approved manufacturers, pooled procurement agencies and local manufacturer representatives.

He also indicated that in some cases the ministry will source quotations from suppliers through an open bidding process.

Herd immunity target

With Namibia having already secured enough vaccines to cater for 20% of the population through the COVAX facility, it still needs 40% to reach the 60% herd immunity target.

“Government has already paid an advance payment of N$26 million to COVAX and met other compliance requirements. The procurement of Covidd-19 vaccines via the COVAX facility has been plagued by delays,” the ministry lamented in a press statement issued yesterday.

The ministry also engaged vaccine manufacturers in India, Russia and the United States, as well through the Africa Medical Supply Platform to secure more doses.

“These engagements are ongoing but have proven to be painfully slow. Hence the need for exploring an additional avenue,” the statement read.

Shangula said the estimated value of the vaccine, commodities and services required cannot be determined.

Finance minister Iipumbu Shiimi granted the health ministry the exemption on 2 March.

Namibian Sun, however, understands that the finance ministry is not impressed with their health counterparts’ decision to call for quotes from local agents instead of procuring vaccines directly from manufacturers.

Official sources have indicated that the two ministries are scheduled to meet in the coming days to discuss the matter.

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