Friday, 19 July

Locked-up containers hold essential drugs, including kidney medicines, not mosquito nets - Global Fund to MoH

Health News
Mr. Ernest Amoabeng Oteng and his team at a press conference in April

The Acting Chairman of Global Fund in Ghana, Mr. Ernest Amoabeng Oteng, has called on the Ministry of Health to clarify its claims regarding the contents of over 100 containers locked up at the Tema Port, which the Ministry says contain only mosquito nets. 

Mr. Oteng stated that the 450 containers, worth $45 million, also include essential medical supplies such as anti-retroviral drugs, malaria medication, tuberculosis treatment, kidney drugs, and mosquito nets.

 Mr. Oteng emphasized that spokespersons of the Ministry should be careful in their statements concerning international organizations. 

He explained that the Global Fund is a donor-funded organization, and actions like these from policymakers raise concerns and could jeopardize Ghana’s future assistance from the Fund.

Mr. Oteng disclosed that the management of the Fund is unhappy with the current situation in Ghana regarding the clearance of these medical supplies at the port. 

He mentioned that Fund managers had a meeting with the Minister of Health in Geneva, where they expressed their strong displeasure about the impasse.

He highlighted that documentation proves the containers at the port contain scarce medical supplies, including those for kidney and tuberculosis treatment. 

These essential drugs remain locked up due to increased import duties at the port.

 Since their arrival last year, the government has staggered the clearance of these containers.

In April, following public outcry over the prolonged clearance process, the government managed to clear 14 containers, leaving 120 still to be cleared. 

Mr. Oteng pointed out that since 2002, Ghana has received assistance from the Global Fund, and nothing like this has ever occurred.

He attributed the delays to import duty hikes, with some officials pushing the Fund to pay these increases. 

However, the Fund maintains that as a charity organization, any import charges should be covered by the beneficiary country. 

Even after the government waived the import duties, there remains about GHS 7 million bill for third-party charges, including network fees and demurrage, which must be paid for the items to be fully cleared.

Mr. Oteng raised these issues to underscore the urgency and importance of resolving the situation, urging the Ministry of Health to act swiftly and responsibly.

He made this clearance during an interview on Accra-based Neat FM.

Source: Classfmonline.com/Cecil Mensah