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Health minister against calls to cancel N$650 million tender

By: Selma Taapopi

The Minister of Health and Social Services, Kalumbi Shangula, stated that views expressed to cancel the N$650 million tender to supply clinical supplies are unfortunate and dangerous.

Shangula said views shared in the traditional and social media indicate that the procurement and supply of condoms are not useful to the country.

Calls to cancel the multi-million dollar tender have been made from different quarters, including political parties, such as the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) leader McHenry Venaani, Swapo party youth league (SPYL) secretary, Ephraim Nekongo and medical doctors.

This week, Venaai called on President Geingob to cancel the tender, adding that failure to do so will lead PDM to take legal action in the public interest. This comes after media reports indicated that businessman Shapwa Kanyama’s company allegedly received a N$650 million tender by the Central Procurement Board of Namibia (CPBN) to supply the government with surgical gloves for N$400 million, condoms for N$111 million and other medical supplies such as needles, bandages and blades.

Shangula stated that cancellation of the tender will paralyse the operations of the ministry, endanger public health and put human life at risk.

"It is a matter of grave concern that there are unfortunate and dangerous views being spread both in the traditional, mainstream and social media that the procurement, supply and availability of condoms as a public health intervention are not useful. Nothing can be more dangerous nor further from the truth. I emphasise that condoms are a highly effective and cost-effective prevention intervention,”remarked Shangula.

The minister stated that condoms do not only protect against HIV infection but also prevent unintended pregnancies and the spread of sexual transmitted infections.

“It costs less than a dollar to prevent HIV infections. It cost approximately N$300 000 to treat an HIV-positive client over an average lifespan. Anybody can see the logic. If nobody can see the logic- it means logic does not exist in the person,” noted the Minister.

In addition, a press statement issued by President Geingob on Thursday indicated that the power lies with CPBN to cancel the procurement process. Geingob urged lawmakers and other members of the public calling on him to cancel the tender to familiarise themselves with the laws they passed in the National Assembly, and in particular the provision of the public procurement act.



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