Accra, Ghana — On June 6, 2024, at the Ecobank Ghana PLC Auditorium, the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana (PSGH) launched its groundbreaking SEAPS (Strategy for Enhanced Access to Pharmaceutical Services) project. The launch event was graced by several distinguished guests, including the Hon. Deputy Minister for Health, Mrs. Adelaide Yaa Agyeiwaa Ntim, the Director of Pharmaceutical Services of the Ghana Health Services, Pharm. Dr. Dominic Otchere, representing the Director General, the rector of the Ghana College of Pharmacists, Dr. Yvonne Esseku-Yirenkyiwaa and the Chairperson of the Pharmacy Council Board, Mrs. Doris Fosu-Hemaa Addae-Afoakwa, among other notable personalities alongside numerous colleagues, partners, and members of the media.

In his speech, PSGH President Pharm. Dr. Samuel Kow Donkoh highlighted the significance of the SEAPS initiative, aimed at addressing the critical issue of access to pharmaceutical care in underserved and rural areas of Ghana. He emphasized that equitable access to healthcare is fundamental to achieving the United Nations’ Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals.

“Today, we unveil the SEAPS project, a transformative initiative designed with the needs of the Ghanaian in mind,” Dr. Donkoh stated. “The availability of life-saving medications should be a given, not a privilege. SEAPS aims to bridge these gaps through the strategic extension of pharmaceutical services to areas that need them most.”

Dr. Donkoh underscored the “double burden” of persistent communicable diseases and increasing non-communicable diseases, which have imposed significant costs on the country’s healthcare sector. He reiterated the Government of Ghana’s commitment to achieving universal health coverage (UHC) by 2030, as reflected in the Ministry of Health’s Mid-Term Development Plan (2022-25) and the Abuja Declaration’s goal to allocate 15% of the government’s budget to health.

However, Dr. Donkoh noted that health spending has been decreasing as a percentage of both the budget and GDP, from a peak of 8.1% of the budget in 2019 to a projected 6.4% in 2025. He called for improved domestic resource mobilization and leveraging existing infrastructure to expand healthcare access, emphasizing the untapped potential of community pharmacies.

“Pharmacies hold immense potential as primary care providers,” Dr. Donkoh said. “Their widespread accessibility allows pharmacists to offer immediate and personalized healthcare, making them integral to a more effective and patient-centered health system.”

The SEAPS project aims to empower pharmacists through financial and technical support, enabling them to establish and expand pharmacies in deprived and underserved communities. By integrating advanced technology, the project seeks to improve pharmaceutical care, documentation, and referral pathways, thereby addressing healthcare inequalities.

“This project is not about pharmacists; it is about the wellbeing of the Ghanaian people,” Dr. Donkoh emphasized. “SEAPS is our pledge to make a tangible difference in their lives by ensuring that quality pharmaceutical care reaches those who need it most.”

Dr. Donkoh also highlighted a study indicating that over 80% of Ghanaians use community pharmacy services for minor ailments, underscoring the critical role of community pharmacies as primary healthcare centers. He stressed that efficient distribution of community pharmacies could alleviate travel distances for patients, address health disparities in underserved areas, and contribute to a more resilient and responsive healthcare system.

The PSGH President expressed profound gratitude to the project partners, whose support and collaboration have been instrumental in bringing the SEAPS vision to fruition. He concluded with a call to action for continued efforts to enhance Ghana’s health landscape, ensuring that essential medicines are accessible, affordable, and available to all.

“Together, we embark on this journey to enhance the health landscape of Ghana, fostering a future where essential medicines are accessible, affordable, and available to all,” Dr. Donkoh declared.

Access pictures from the launch here PICTURES FROM SEAPS LAUNCH