$40m Locked Up Drugs Finally Cleared

…After Minister’s Threat To Sleep At Tema Port

The Ministry of Health, has finally cleared almost all locked-up Global Fund-donated medical supplies at Tema Port, valued at over US$40 million.

These items, including Antiretrovirals (ARVs), TB medications and Malaria treatments, which were languishing at the port due to difficulty in payment of duties since May, 2023, was said to have been cleared at last through the effort of the Health Minister, Dr Bernard Okoe Boye.

Interim Chairman of the Global Fund Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM) in Ghana, Ernest Ortsin Amoabeng, who confirmed the clearance of the items, said their checks at the Central Medical Stores at Spintex and Imperial Health Science (HIS) last Monday, indicate the goods have been cleared.

Mr Amoateng, who had earlier decried the delay, assured that the medications have already been transported to the regional stores for distribution to the hospitals.

He was hopeful that the remaining containers, will be cleared entirely in two weeks.

“We were at both storage facilities yesterday and everything is good. They explained that last year, they received 150 containers. And this year 112 containers. This week, they are expecting 70 containers and a last batch of some 64 containers, yet to be cleared. So, in total, the number tallies with the figures of the global fund,” he stated.

He said, the new cycle grant will now be released fully for the necessary procurement and system strengthening mechanisms to take place.

He expressed appreciation to the Minister of Health for his proactiveness and all the various stakeholders that pushed for the commodities to be cleared.

This welcoming news, comes barely two weeks after the sector Minister, Dr Okoe Boye, threatened to pitch camp at the Port, if the Ministry of Finance and also the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) do not ensure the clearing of the consignments by close of June.

The physician, who asked Ghanaians to exercise patience, said he had pledged the Fund he was going to do everything within his power to get the medicine cleared without minding the consequences.

“The way I do my work, to hell with what anybody thinks. If those containers don’t come out by two weeks’ time you will find me at the port…I told the Global Fund that there is absolutely no way any commodity should witness a quarter of what is happening. If I go there [port] then Mr President will know that his son is sitting at the port and he will ask them why have they kept me at the port maybe  that is what will make who is in-charge of what, know that we mean business”.

He described as unacceptable the unnecessary bureaucracies and the nonchalant attitude of civil servants who often tell officials to relax over very pressing issues, because he has assured the Global Fund, he would work towards that”, the Minister said.

“I told the Global Fund man that, within this month if the containers should come out of the port and if the month is ending and they are there, you will not meet me at the office, I will be sitting at the port and I don’t want to sound like a communist, but it is annoying”, he added.

The immediate past CEO of the National Health Insurance Authority, speaking on Metro Television’s Good Morning Ghana a while back, admitted many things had gone wrong, while the Ministry tried to clear the gifted drugs delaying for more than a year.

He revealed on the show an officer who was in-charge of international affairs, lost his job after his meeting abroad with the donors.

The Minister, said during his interactions with authorities from the Global Fund, he was informed relationship between them and the ministry had not deteriorated.

“Two things accounted for what was experienced. Of course, if leadership was perfect this should not have happened, I choose my words carefully. So, I myself personally have serious problem with that.

There were inefficiencies, there is a unit that handles our external partners when it comes to things that they are bringing to this country and all that. I do admit that these exemptions may put some layers previously that layer wasn’t there, things that have to pass through freely now has to be paid for.

But it is not too much of an excuse even if the layer was there, there are motions you can trigger to make sure these things come. So the Unit that is handling our relationship with our partners Global Fund and all that, immediately I arrived within 48 hours, the key person there is gone immediately. I told the Chief Director, this guy has no business here, you can check from the ministry the guy in charge he is gone”, he disclosed.


Related Posts