Vaccine tubes filled with waterTop health officials to be tried over Menningitis scandal [Archives:2004/706/Local News]

January 26 2004

Mohammed bin Sallam
The Capital Secretariat Public Property Court held two sessions last week to look into a case filed by the general attorney against 21 top officials at the Ministry of Health, accused of corruption concerning the scandalous case of meningitis vaccine.
Annahar Weekly published a story on Jan. 22 in which a prominent judge told the paper that “accusations of embezzlement of public fund and abuse of power were brought against the defendants.
Among them was the merchant who imported the defective vaccines, which were discovered to be unusable after they were distributed to the public.
Supreme officials in the ministry were not among the accused in the initial trial, but the Central Organization for Audit and Control had indicted a number of those officials including the one of the agents for their role in this case, which was forwarded to the attorney, where it stayed several months.”
Upon unveiling the defective vaccines' scandal, public groups expressed outrage and disappointment and requested the trial of those officials of the ministry who were accomplices with the merchant importing the unusable vaccines.
It was discovered that the merchant had imported empty vaccine glass tubes and filled them with water in an attempt to deceive the public by making them believe that the tubes contained meningitis vaccines, which are used to vaccinate pilgrims before leaving Yemen to go to Saudi Arabia for Hajj.
The government had in the past filed lawsuits against small employees in Aden, Lahj and Sanaa, but the procedure was merely implemented against low-level employees and never reached the top ones in ministries and public authorities.
Reports reveal that the deteriorating health conditions throughout the country have contributed to the spread of various infections diseases. According to governmental statistics, annually, 30% of the population gets infected by Malaria and 20% by hepatitis while 28% of children get exposed to diarrhea. Apart from that are various other diseases such as influenza, intestines worms, bilharziasis, and an increasing number of positive HIV infections.