The Auditor-General’s report noted that Section 83 of the Public Procurement Act, 2003 (Act 663) requires the head of the procuring entity to convene a committee of inquiry comprising representatives of departments with obsolete stocks to report on the items and, subject to a technical report on them, recommend the best method of disposal.
The report found that 1,022,348 doses of vaccines received at the National Cold Store and distributed to user facilities in the various districts and regions had expired.
According to the Auditor-General, the programme manager stated that the vaccines were donated vaccines that were delivered to them close to their expiry date.
The vaccines could inadvertently/mistakenly be distributed among healthy people for vaccination, which could pose a public health threat to the country.
“We recommended that the Director of Public Health should ensure that the vaccines are disposed of safely,” the Auditor General said.
Management responded that, as part of public health measures, these vaccines are not stored in the cold room at all, so that they are not inadvertently distributed among safe vaccines.
Rather, they are kept outside the cold room and transported to the Regional Health Directorate for destruction in accordance with Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).
Management also indicated that as part of the SOPs and in accordance with the law, management is working with a team comprising the Food and Drugs Authority, the Ghana Health Service, health partners (including WHO and/or UNICEF), the Environmental Health Department of the relevant local government, the Environmental Protection Agency and other departments to dispose of the expired vaccines.
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