Government expends $2.2B on COVID-19 Vaccines at mid-year

The government thought the Ministry of Health spent some $2.2B on COVID-19 vaccines during the first six months of 2021. This is according to the government’s Mid-year report. The report which is produced by the Ministry of Finance is expected to be tabled in the National Assembly soon. Among the vaccines the government had acquired are Sputnik -V, AstraZeneca, Moderna and Sinopharm.

By the end of June, some 112,000 persons were fully vaccinated while 230,000 were partially vaccinated, the report said. With the introduction of the Pfizer vaccines for children in August, vaccination numbers have since increased significantly. The government’s intention is to offer the vaccines to at least 80% of its population.

Further, the Ministry of Health expended an overall $26.7 billion at the end of June 2021 with $8 billion going towards drugs and medical supplies. Other sums were spent on acquiring seven additional GeneXpert machines for seven sites in Regions 1, 4, 6, 7, 9 and 10 to the complement of testing facilities, outfitting the COVID-19 hospital with 28 Intensive Care Units (ICU) and 174 general wards, and expansion of the health infrastructure.

The report outlined that as of June, nearly 60 per cent of all COVID-19 deaths were persons who had complications arising from arterial hypertension and type II diabetes. As such, nearly 9,000 persons were screened for non-communicable/chronic diseases during the first half of 2021, resulting in 19,346 persons newly diagnosed for chronic diseases to allow for early treatment, where necessary, and active case management.

Over the past few months, the health sector has recorded a whopping increase in COVID-19 related deaths. In the past three days alone, the Ministry of Health announced 17 new deaths taking the overall total since March 2020 to 816. The majority of those persons the Ministry said, were unvaccinated against the disease.

Meanwhile, for communicable diseases, Government said it has expended $593.3 million of the budgeted $900 million for the procurement of HIV-related testing and treatment including antiretroviral medication.

“This should ensure that the country has a stock of 14 months of treatment for the 8,952 patients,” the report stated.

Monies were also spent to combat Malaria which has seen an increase in cases from 7,508 during the corresponding period in 2020 to 8,118 cases this year.

In the area of family and primary health care services, the Government has also expended $18.2 million on the financing of maternal waiting homes and facilities at Moruca, Kato and Enmore, and $217 million to procure medical equipment.