Thursday, 30 May

We're unhappy with you – CSOs descend on gov’t over life-saving drugs locked up at Tema Port

Health News
CSOs at the press conference in Accra

The Coalition of Civil Society Organisation Networks in HIV, TB, and Malaria addressed the media on Monday, April 8, 2024, at the CCM secretariat, expressing grave concerns over the grave issue of approximately $40 million worth of vital medicines reportedly stuck at the Tema port since May 2023.

Furthermore, six Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Ghana have announced their intention to organise a demonstration against the government if the prolonged deadlock regarding the clearance of essential Global Fund-donated health commodities at the Tema Port remains unresolved.

The stalled supplies include Antiretrovirals (ARV) for HIV treatment, tuberculosis (TB) medications, and malaria treatments, all crucial for combating prevalent diseases in the country.

The CSOs highlighted the dire consequences of the ongoing delays, pointing out the severe shortages experienced in health facilities nationwide.

They stressed the urgent need for government intervention to prevent what they described as a looming public health crisis.

The impasse revolves around discrepancies in clearing costs, with the Ghanaian government citing increased port charges, necessitating additional funds for clearance—a claim disputed by the Global Fund.

In an interview on Class91.3FM, Ernest Amoabeng Ortsin, Lead Convener and President of the Ghana HIV and AIDS Network, said the frustration was palpable as he announced plans for a demonstration on Wednesday, April 17, 2024, at the Obra Spot, Kwame Nkrumah Circle Interchange, serving as the assembly point at 7 am.

The CSOs also underscored the risk of losing vital Global Fund support, emphasising the urgent need for swift resolution. 

Madam Elsie Ayeh, President of the Network of Persons Living with HIV, decried the government's apparent disregard for HIV patients, denouncing the bureaucratic hurdles hindering the clearance of donated medicines as "wickedness at all times".

“It seems the government does not care about us… It is unacceptable. Last year we had sixteen thousand new HIV infections and nine thousand deaths, why? We’re thoroughly fed up,” Ayeh expressed.

Madam Cecilia Lodonu-Senoo, Executive Director of Hope for Future Generations, echoed these sentiments, condemning the government's inaction, stating, "It's so disheartening to see that the government of Ghana has not been able to clear these health commodities for over a year now."

Source: Kwadwo Alidjah