As Africans eagerly await the arrival of the Covid vaccine across the continent, corruption & criminality in the US have cast a shadow of the global vaccination campaign.
In the US state of Tennessee, public health officials recently turned away elderly people who had waited hours to be vaccinated, giving the drug to family & friends instead.
On New Year’s Eve, health officials at the Tennessee Riverpark vaccination center told hundreds of senior citizens to go home, citing a shortage of supplies. But once they had left, the same officials contacted friends & relatives and administered them with the vaccine. The incident has caused an outrage, with both local & national news outlet reporting the scandal.
And in Grafton, Wisconsin, a pharmacist has been arrested for intentionally damaging 57 vials of the Moderna vaccine. The pharmacist admitted to officials at Aurora Medical Center that he had removed the vials from the hospital’s refrigerator with the deliberate intention of rendering them ineffective. He was later arrested and may soon stand charges for reckless endangerment, criminal damage to property & adultering a prescription drug – all felonies.
Having removed the vials from refrigeration in the overnight hours of December 24 and 25, officials say the pharmacist severely compromised the effectiveness of the drugs, which were administered to scores of people. As a result, many of the vaccinations were either less effective or totally ineffective. The public health consequences are serious, since those who have been vaccinated are now in doubt as to their true vaccination status.
Across the Atlantic, many are wondering whether such scandals are harbingers of what will happen with the vaccine in Africa, given the continent’s struggles with endemic corruption. Pascal Mukadi, Chairman of Medical Fund Management Pty. Ltd. (MFM), believes that such incidents are a wakeup call for Africans to be proactive when it comes to their own vaccination campaigns.
“What the American experience tells us is that, from day one of our vaccination initiatives, we need to be vigilant about our processes & procedures” says Mukadi. “We need to begin putting in place monitoring & implementation strategies that curtain the possibility of corruption & maladministration.”
“Given the seriousness of the Covid scourge, we can’t tolerate the type of shenanigans that too often plague our public health systems.”
MFM, a Johannesburg South Africa-based company, manages healthcare funds for organizations, individuals & governments across Africa. As part of its business model, the firm invests heavily in promoting partnerships aimed at developing healthcare infrastructure & technology across the continent.
Mukadi, a social entrepreneur with decades of pan-African business experience, believes that the Covid pandemic represents a turning point for African healthcare.
“Covid-19 has exposed our over-dependence on Western supply chains & technologies when it comes to African healthcare” warns Mukadi. “We’ve got to remedy this dependence by investing heavily in our local health infrastructure.”
Through MFM & the Pascal Mukadi Foundation, he has begun the drive to execute this mandate. Throughout 2021, he’s planned several healthcare development initiatives due to launch in Kenya, DRC & Nigeria.
“I believe that we’re about to see a powerful renaissance taking place within the African healthcare space” says Mukadi. “It will be driven by technology & global partnerships.”
“As MFM and as the Pascal Mukadi Foundation, we aim to be at the forefront of this renaissance.”
Written by: Mambande Thomas
Editor MFM Media