A Zambian MP has compared a nationwide distribution of condoms and sterile gloves despite the products failing safety tests as “genocide”.
“What the ministry of health is doing is genocide,” lawmaker Mwansa Mbulakulima said. “When you put water in those gloves and condoms, they’re leaking. How many people have died from September as a result of this negligence.” The MP said he was concerned about the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and coronavirus, Mr Mbulakulima and his colleagues in a parliamentary committee heard on Wednesday how Honey Bee, a local company, secured a $17m (£12m) contract to supply the condoms and gloves which were found to be faulty.
“The gloves are supposed to be used by frontline workers in the fight against Covid and they have been distributed countrywide despite them being faulty,” said Mr Mbulakulima. The company’s director Imran Lunat accused the auditor general’s office of being biased in its reports which found that the firm didn’t have a physical address, state-owned Daily Mail reports. The audit also found that the contract was awarded on a Sunday, which is not an official working day. Kakulubelwa Mulalelo, the permanent secretary in charge of administration in the health ministry, told the committee she had no idea who authorised the contract, but only attended the launch of the distribution of the products.
Ms Mulalelo said her ministry “regrets” the incident while officials from the Zambia Medicines and Regulatory Authority admitted lapses in awarding of the contract. Zambians on Twitter have expressed their anger and incredulity at the revelations.