BY HARRIET CHIKANDIWA
HUMAN rights lawyer, Moses Nkomo has written to the Health and Child Care ministry demanding information regarding the government’s COVID-19 vaccine procurement and roll-out plan for Zimbabwe.
Nkomo demanded that information pertaining to the vaccine should be extensively published in print and electronic media within seven days of receipt of letter, and not later than February 3, 2021.
His demand came soon after Health acting secretary Robert Mudyiradima last week told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health that those on the priority list for the vaccine included MPs, ministers and government officials, the security sector and health frontline workers.
There were also reports that government has since approved mass importation of the veterinary anti-parasitic drug Ivermectin to be used on COVID-19 patients.
Mudyiradima recently wrote to the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe acting director-general Robert Rukwata directing that the drug should be approved for use in the treatment of COVID-19, as one of the effective treatment regimens”.
“Since the turn of the year 2021, Zimbabwe has witnessed a sharp spike in COVID-19 infections and fatalities. In desperation to survive the pandemic, citizens resorted to untested domestic remedies whose efficacy is suspect to say the least,” Nkomo said.
“Worryingly, there has been a total information blackout on government’s procurement plan and roll-out strategy of the vaccine to curb this deadly pandemic including stakeholder consultation to feed into the strategy and plan, if any. In the absence of official information, the public feels besieged by this pandemic.”
He said as a result the public was depending on alarmist media reports suggesting that the government was failing to import enough vaccine.
“Therefore, we are instructed to demand that this information be extensively published in both print and electronic media within seven days of this letter and in any case by not later than February 3, 2021.
“In the event of failure to publish the information requested, our client shall pursue other actions to enforce its fundamental rights in terms of the Constitution, we sincerely hope the latter shall not be necessary,” part of the letter read.
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