The Mozambican government recently launched an appeal aimed at raising funds for the purchase of more doses of the Covid-19 vaccine. This appeal can be a revelation of shortage of enough resources for the acquisition of more vaccines which can satisfy national demand.
During the launch of the Vaccination National Plan, government guaranteed that “was making efforts to mobilise resources, with its cooperation partners, for the purchase of additional doses of the vaccine, as well as for the assurance of costs associated with conservation, distribution and monitoring of vaccines.”
The executive, in the scope of its internal communication, claimed to be in a process of raising awareness of the private sector so that within the scope of its social responsibility it would mobilise resources for the acquisition of vaccines against Covid-19.
Therefore, the latest idea to appeal to the generosity of all sectors of society is proof that the government – is not succeeding in its fundraising plan via its cooperation partners.
Due to the change in fundraising strategies, it is clear that the vaccination plan will be called into question. In principle, government intended to vaccinate, by 2022, a total of 16,825.33 eligible people, excluding pregnant women and children under 15. According to government, the execution of the plan – which includes the purchase of vaccines and the vaccination process itself – is estimated at around 23 million euros.
Since the government, at the beginning of the pandemic, received from the cooperation partners, for the prevention and combat of Covid-19, 448.5 million dollars, it is astonishing to believe that it cannot mobilise donations that amount to 23 million euros.
According to a note signed by the Minister of Health, Armindo Tiago, dated 5 April, the government “opened three bank accounts based at Banco de Moçambique to facilitate society’s contribution to the acquisition of vaccines against COVID -19.”
The same note adds that the “solidarity mechanism for the acquisition of vaccines has the advantage of facilitating access, reducing costs of acquisition and transporting vaccines, as well as preventing the purchase of counterfeit or low-quality vaccines.”
The Minister of Health also added that the use of funds from the internal resource mobilisation process will be made public periodically, in order to guarantee transparency.
However, from our point of view government has not shown itself to be transparent, since it rarely makes available the level of expenditure and spending in the health sector in detail. In other words, the lack of thoroughness calls into question transparency in the process of using public money, with the public not knowing for what purpose it is spent.
The lack of transparency is also notable in the fact that the government has not yet published the vaccination report, even after the first phase of the process has ended. On the one hand, the delay observed in the publication of the report on the first vaccination phase does not inspire confidence that the process of producing reports on the use of the money raised will be transparent. On the other hand, it is not enough to say that the periodic reports will be made public, it is necessary to clarify the periodicity.
MISAU also claims that the solidarity mechanism will facilitate the access and the reduction of the acquisition costs, as well as the transport of the vaccines. In view of this statement, the question that arises is the following: how can facilitation occur? The Minister of Health, for example, does not specifically present the mechanism to be used to prevent the acquisition of counterfeit or low-quality vaccines.
In other countries, the government is the sole provider of vaccines; all vaccines are purchased through the government through a Single Plan for Equitable and Effective Access to Vaccine Acquisition and Distribution. Thus, we arrive at a perception that the Mozambican government did not foresee in its plan and did not even create a legal device to ensure that vaccines do not enter through other routes.
The private sector has already advanced with discussions on the acquisition of vaccines through an initiative called UNIVAX (United for the vaccine against COVID-19), it remains to be seen whether the same sector will extend its generosity to the general population, according to the new government plan.
Solidarity is important and Civil Society has been advocating for the creation of a robust mechanism for the equitable distribution of vaccines. For this, however, it is necessary that MISAU carry out a public consultation in search of better solutions with the taxpayers. Without there being a fruitful public debate on the issue, it will not be known whether the government still has control of its Vaccination Plan, as well as the following question: will the government have all eligible citizens vaccinated by 2022?