Lesotho fund frustrated by govt delaying COVID vaccine procurement

Sesiu, a solidarity fund that has raised R25 million and secured the Russian vaccine, Sputnik V, has been waiting for the letter from the ministry of health.

FILE: Eyewitness News understands that the ministry of health has been asked for a letter of authorisation to put the plan in motion but has not issued it. Picture: Kittipong Satrinekarn/123rf.com

JOHANNESBURG - Eyewitness News has on Monday learnt that a Lesotho private sector initiative to procure 1.1 million COVID-19 vaccines for the country is being frustrated by government officials who are delaying with a letter of authorisation.

Sesiu, a solidarity fund that has raised R25 million and secured the Russian vaccine, Sputnik V, has been waiting for the letter from the ministry of health.

Sesiu has declined to comment and the office of the prime minister is yet to reply.

Businessman Sam Matekane is the chairperson of the Sesiu Solidarity Fund, a private sector-led drive to procure vaccines for Lesotho.

“We are together with our government leading the whole thing just to make sure that we try and get as much as possible of our people vaccinated,” he said.

Last month, he was elated about the launch of Sesiu, which has now raised R25 million of the R125 million it needs to vaccinate 1.4 million Basotho.

“If all goes well, we will be able to get the first 100,000 by the end of May and thereafter 100,000 per month.”

But Matekane’s optimism was short-lived.

Eyewitness News understands that the ministry of health has been asked for a letter of authorisation to put the plan in motion but has not issued it.

Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro was asked to intervene and promised the letter by the end of last week but that too has not materialised.

Fund secretary Phafane Nkotsi has declined to comment.

The country needs to vaccinate 1.4 million of its 2.2 million people

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