Just a few months after foreign aid to Sierra Leone was frozen when it was found that $1 million in donations was missing, the African nation was granted over $5 million in order to help its vaccination program.
The Geneva-based Global Alliance for Vaccine Immunisation (GAVI) approved the $5.4 million grant after being satisfied that the impoverished west African nation was cracking down on corruption, the health ministry said.
AdvertisementHealth Minister Miatta Kargbo said his department had "turned a new page in its relationship with GAVI".
"We requested $3.7 million to implement the programme but based on the reforms we have undertaken, our partners decided to increase it to $5.4 million."
"The ministry will continue to redefine itself on the basis of transparency, accountability and good governance."
GAVI halted its aid late last year after an internal audit showed that $1,099,640 (750,000 euros) in funds it had granted Sierra Leone had disappeared.
The country's anti-corruption commission said in March 29 officials, including six doctors, were being prosecuted for misuse of the missing funds.
The allegations include "undocumented expenses, cash disbursements from bank accounts without documentation and overcharged procurement costs relating to the purchase of ambulances," according to the commission.
According to World Health Organisation statistics, GAVI assistance to Sierra Leone since 2000 has totalled over $24 million for the purchase of vaccines such as the five-in-one shot which protects children against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B and Hib (Haemophilus influenzae).
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