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Global Fund threatens to terminate support to Ghana over delayed medication clearance

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Source: Myjoyonline.com

 

The Global Fund has issued a final warning to Ghana demanding immediate clearance of tuberculosis (TB) and malaria medications that arrived in the country last October.

According to the fund, despite assurances from the government, a portion of the shipments remain stuck at the port and can expire.

In April, the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) announced it had secured the tax waivers to enable it to clear the drugs after months of delay.

However, demurrages and third-party charges are amounting to seven million cedis which must be paid.

Due to this debt, more than 118 containers are stuck at the port.

Samuel Hackman, from the Global Fund Coordinating Mechanism Secretariat, stated that it not only affects the $45 million worth of commodities but also strains Ghana’s relationship with the Global Fund.

“It is as bad as it was two months ago because the issue has not been fully resolved. This issue we are referring to is part of the $45 million commodities that were procured by the Global Fund under the GC Six Ghana, and part of it has still been held at the port. It’s very worrying. And it’s also denting the relationship that we have with the Global Fund as a country.”

“They have stated categorically to us that they would have done that earlier but for the long-standing relationship they would want to hold on and see the promises that we have put on the table and whether we will be able to fulfil them or not, and it is within a specified time that we need to do that or count ourselves out.

The Global Fund needs to explain this to its donors and the management of the fund need to explain this to their boss. And so nobody wants to find himself doing this kind of communication which does not bring anything, so I can assure you that if these commodities are not taken out of the port in time and in time means now, then communication will be received from the Global Fund.”

Meanwhile, hospitals across the country are facing critical shortages of essential drugs, particularly TB medications, due to the backlog at the port.

President of the Ghana HIV and AIDS Network, Ernest Amoabeng Ortsin, highlighted the urgency of this issue.

“It is true that we have run out of stock for TB medications. It is also true that the Global Fund has indicated that it is going to cut ties with us as a country. When it comes to treatment for these two diseases, HIV and TB for example, if you are on medication and you stop, your body develops a resistance. So later on, when you go back to the medication, it doesn’t work. It will mean that you need to be taken unto a second line of medications which are even more expensive.”

“These are medicines that the government of Ghana is not even procuring. They are being given to us for free and yet we simply cannot take them from our port. It is baffling.”

 

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