Directors in Troubled Health Sector Resign


Their resignations followed after a year old controversy around HIV Kits




 

Meskela Lera and Amha Kebede (PhD), the general director of the Pharmaceuticals Fund & Supply Agency (PFSA), and the general director of the Ethiopian Public Health Institute (EPHI), respectively, have resigned from their posts as of January, 2017.

The reasons behind their resignation remains undisclosed.

The two institutions have been under scrutiny for the past year in relations to delays in the procurement of HIV testing kits. The delays in the process and the failure to set up an established algorithm caused a nationwide shortage of the kits. It also limited the availability of HIV blood test services delivered to the public.

The Agency was responsible for the purchases, and the Institute was mandated to provide diagnostic and analytical test services.

Meskela was directly appointed by the Prime Minister three years ago, after the departure of his predecessor, Haileselassie Bihon. Before taking the reins at PFSA, Meskela was the deputy director of the HIV/AIDS Prevention & Control Office.

“His resignation was submitted around two weeks ago,” said a senior official from the ministry. “We know nothing official about why he resigned.”

However, sources close to the Agency elate his resignation with the issues related to the HIV test kits.

Despite repeated attempts, Meskela was not available for comment.

Last year PFSA purchased condoms from an Indian company at a cost of 100 million Br, which were later found to be faulty and removed. More recently, PFSA came under the spotlight following a report by the Auditor General’s Office that revealed wastage of half a billion Br worth of chemicals, drugs and medical equipment, which were found to be outdated.

Established in 2010, PFSA has a mandate to procure health related items for national consumption, and to establish and implement efficient and effective procurement and distribution systems to deliver quality products to the public, and store pharmaceuticals in an adequate manner. The Agency has a board that looks after its operations, comprised of officials from the Ministry of Health, and regional states.

In the same token, EPHI’s director, Amha left the Institute after almost 20 years, serving as the deputy Director and Director. Amha was directly appointed by the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi six years ago. He has a degree in biomedical science and parasitology. His resignation from the position as General Director of EPHI was as of January 2017.

EPHI was established in April 1995 following a merger of the former National Research Institute of Health (NRIH), the Ethiopian Nutrition Institute (ENI) and the Department of Traditional Medicine (DTM) of the Ministry of Health.

“I don’t want to respond,” Amha told Fortune when asked about his resignation.

“They submitted their resignations and they were accepted by the government,” said Kebede Worku(PhD), state Minister of Health and deputy board chairman of PFSA.

The state minister downplayed the claim that the resignations were related to the HIV Kit purchase.

“This is totally false and negative propaganda by the rent seekers,” he said. “The kits were purchased based on WHO and Global Fund standards.”

 



By DAWIT ENDESHAW
FORTUNE STAFF WRITER

Published on Feb 07,2017 [ Vol 17 ,No 875]


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