Accra, Ghana – March 18, 2024

In a press statement issued on 18th March 2024 and signed by the president, Pharm. Dr. Samuel Know Donkoh, the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana (PSGH) expressed grave concerns regarding the delayed access to essential health commodities from the Global Fund, highlighting potential repercussions for the country’s fight against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB), and malaria.

According to the PSGH, health commodities worth $45 million have been stranded at the port since August 2023, including vital supplies such as malaria Rapid Diagnostic Testkits (RDTs), Insecticide Treated Nets (ITNs), and Antiretrovirals (ARVs). The delay in clearance stems from the Global Fund’s policy of not financing taxes and levies, resulting in a deadlock that endangers the health and well-being of countless Ghanaians reliant on these medications.

The PSGH noted a complete stock-out of malaria RDTs, with some health facilities facing shortages of ARVs, threatening a potential stock-out nationwide by May 2024. Such a shortage could exacerbate health conditions, increase viral loads, and foster the emergence of drug resistance, undermining Ghana’s progress in combating these epidemics.

Highlighting Ghana’s recent commitment of US$2 million to the Global Fund’s Seventh Replenishment, the PSGH emphasized the dissonance between professed dedication to global health initiatives and the current impasse in accessing life-saving drugs. The society urged the government to take immediate action to expedite the clearance of these vital medications as a matter of urgency.

Moreover, the PSGH highlighted the Ministry of Health’s obligation to refund ineligible expenses of $844,046 to the Global Fund, risking a deduction of $1.6 million from the current grant cycle (GC7) to Ghana. This financial setback could further compromise access to essential health commodities and must be addressed promptly.

As part of interim measures, the PSGH called for the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) to inspect the stored commodities for quality assurance and requested quarantine upon clearance, followed by a full assay or quality control assessment before distribution to patients. The Society reaffirmed its commitment to patient safety and quality care, pledging collaboration with the Ministry of Health and other stakeholders to devise swift solutions.

Looking ahead, the PSGH emphasized the importance of securing sustainable funding for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria programs, advocating for domestic dialogues on financing mechanisms to safeguard these vital initiatives. Through concerted efforts, the Society believes equitable access to medications and health commodities can be ensured, enabling all Ghanaians to lead healthy and productive lives.