Ghana Faces Impending Drug Shortage Crisis by End of June as Global Fund Medications Remain Stuck at Port

by Louisa Afful
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The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) has raised alarm over an imminent shortage of essential drugs by the end of June. Reports indicate that some medical facilities are already relying on others for crucial medications. This crisis follows a final warning issued by the Global Fund to Ghana, demanding immediate clearance of tuberculosis (TB) and malaria medications that arrived in the country last October.

Despite assurances from the government, a portion of the shipments remains stuck at the port, risking expiration, according to the Global Fund. The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) announced in April that tax waivers had been secured to facilitate the clearance of the drugs after months of delay. However, demurrages and third-party charges totalling seven million cedis must be paid, resulting in over 118 containers being trapped at the port.

Samuel Hackman from the Global Fund Coordinating Mechanism Secretariat expressed concern over the impact not only on the $45 million worth of commodities but also on Ghana’s relationship with the Global Fund. GMA fears that the consequences of this situation will soon become widespread. GMA General Secretary, Dr. Richard Selormey, warned that many places are expected to begin experiencing medication shortages nationwide by the end of the month.

Ernest Amoabeng Ortsin, President of the Ghana HIV and AIDS Network, stressed the urgency of the issue, noting the risk of drug resistance and the inability to access second-line medications if treatment is interrupted. He expressed dismay over the situation, highlighting that the medications, provided free of charge, remain inaccessible due to delays at the port.

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