Speaker of the Parliament and former president of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed has warned the government to pay heed when procuring COVID-19 vaccines for the Maldives. The Speaker made the statement in reference to the corruption involved in the procurement of ventilators for the Maldives amid the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Health Ministry was tasked with the responsibility of procuring ventilators for the Maldives, and several ventilators that were ordered have not been received to date. Multiple issues were flagged in the process followed by the Health Ministry in procuring the ventilators, and former Health Minister Abdulla Ameen resigned amid corruption allegations linked to the deal.
Speaking at Wednesday’s parliament sitting regarding obtaining information on the progress of the development of health centres in GDh. Gadhdhoo, Sh. Kanditheemu and Goidhoo, Nasheed said the newly appointed Health Minister, Ahmed Naseem can provide information regarding plans for vaccine procurement if the minister was present at the sitting.
“We must pay attention to ensure that what happens with the procurement of ventilators does not happen when buying vaccines,” said Nasheed.
While hopeful results have been obtained in COVID-19 vaccine trials, it is believed that vaccines will be widely available within the next year. The Health Emergency Operations Centre (HEOC) previously said vaccines enough for 20 percent of the population can be obtained free of charge. The proposed budget for next year also includes an allocation for the procurement of vaccines.