ACC PROBE RESTARTS GAVI SUPPORT TO SALONE
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has been credited for playing a great role in the resumption of the Geneva-based Global Alliance for Vaccine Immunisation (GAVI) Alliance support to Sierra Leone.
Sierra Leone has just been awarded a 5.4 million dollar grant by the Alliance after the suspension of support to the country following the alleged misappropriation of about 1 million dollars by the Ministry of Health, the direct recipient of the GAVI support.
The alleged misappropriation was first discovered by an audit report by GAVI. This led to the intervention of the Anti-Corruption Commission, which also carried out its own independent investigations and prosecuted 29 senior officials of the Ministry of Health.
According to France 24, the intervention by the country’s anti-graft agency helped to restore confidence in GAVI by resuming support as well as increasing funding to Sierra Leone.
The Paris-based news and current affairs television channel quoted Sierra Leone’s Minister of Health, Miatta Kargbo as saying that her ministry requested for $ 3.7 million to fund their programmes and ended up getting 5.4 million dollars, a development she described as “a new page” in the ministry’s relationship with GAVI.
Responding to this development, the Director of Public Education and External Outreach, Shollay Davies said this is “a welcome news for the people of Sierra Leone, especially the children who need the vaccination and other medical care”. He noted that this is an “affirmation of some of the achievements of the ACC in fostering transparency and accountability in governance, which is the sine qua non for donor support”. Mr. Davies pointed out that there were indications that GAVI would not have continued their support without the assurance that their investment would be protected. “This has rekindled hope and restored confidence in our health sector”, he said.
The GAVI support to Sierra Leone has now summed up to over 24 million dollars since 2000. The funds are being used for the purchase of vaccines such as the five-in-one shots which protects children against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B and Hib.