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Dutch envoy wants faster GAVI trial

By Vision Reporter

Added 13th March 2008 03:00 AM

THE trial of suspects, who allegedly misused the Global Alliance for Vaccines Immunisation (GAVI) funds, should move faster so that justice is delivered, Dutch ambassador, Jeroen Verheul said.

THE trial of suspects, who allegedly misused the Global Alliance for Vaccines Immunisation (GAVI) funds, should move faster so that justice is delivered, Dutch ambassador, Jeroen Verheul said.

By Chris Kiwawulo

THE trial of suspects, who allegedly misused the Global Alliance for Vaccines Immunisation (GAVI) funds, should move faster so that justice is delivered, an envoy has said.

The Royal Dutch ambassador, Jeroen Verheul, noted that prosecuting those implicated in the abuse of donor funds was a good step towards fighting corruption in Uganda.

“We are happy that the GAVI case is in court but we are not very happy with the speed of the trial,” he commented, adding that the scandal had tarnished the country’s image.

Former health minister Jim Muhwezi and his deputies Mike Mukula and Alex Kamugisha, together with former State House employee Alice Kaboyo, have been charged with misappropriating GAVI funds worth sh1.6b. The case is pending over procedural issues.
Verheul called for tighter procurement procedures to check corruption and stamp out logistical problems in the purchase of drugs in future.

“Strengthening procurement procedures is an important step in avoiding procurement-related scandals. Taxpayers want to see development results, which are often hampered by corruption, bad management and poor service delivery,” he said.

“We want to help Uganda’s finance ministry adopt the Dutch result-based budgeting system to avoid such procurement scandals in future.

The envoy was on Wednesday presiding over the launch of the anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs) buffer stock service project in Kampala. The three-year project began in 2005 in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Euros 5.2m (sh13.8b) project, which is funded by the Dutch government, is aimed at making ARVs readily available in the region.

Verheul said Euros 3.5m (sh9.3b) of the money would be used to buy drugs and Euros 1.7m (sh4.5b) for training the drug handlers. The fund’s secretariat will be in Uganda.

The Dutch Government that annually spends between Euros 400m and Euros 450m on HIV prevention, contracted IDA Solutions and its South African affiliate ARV Access for Africa to implement the buffer stock service.

In Uganda, the drugs would be supplied through Surgipharm, a company that deals in the distribution of drugs and medical equipment.

The supply of ARVs is aimed at ensuring that institutions that deal in the drugs do not suffer from shortages, said Kinny Nayer, the Surgipharm Uganda managing director. He added that they would supply the drugs at a cheaper price compared to current prices.

According to the IDA Solutions managing director, Henk den Besten, the project has helped to reduce the cost of treatment for patients from $700 (sh1.1m) to $120 (sh205,000) per year in the last three years.

Health practitioners from the health ministry, hospitals and AIDS care organisations, welcomed the project.

Dutch envoy wants faster GAVI trial

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