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HIV ARVs Stranded at the Port – Director General Bemoans

It’s very concerning for me because we have had this kind of situation many times in this country. And in my view, it’s a failure on the part of our health system because it shouldn’t happen that we should have commodities locked up at the forecourt for many months.

The Director-General of the Ghana AIDS Commission has expressed grave concerns over the delays in clearing essential healthcare medications, including crucial anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs), at the ports.

He said, about three containers containing HIV ARVs have been stranded at the ports since June 2023, posing a significant risk of a potential spread of the virus due to lack of medication in the system.

In an interview with Citi News, Dr. Kyeremeh Atuahene highlighted the urgent need for these medications, with approximately 236 million global fund containers of essential medicines stuck at the port, including 211 Malaria Test kits and Bed Nets.

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The situation has further strained the healthcare system and put individuals in need of these medications at risk.

It’s very concerning for me because we have had this kind of situation many times in this country. And in my view, it’s a failure on the part of our health system because it shouldn’t happen that we should have commodities locked up at the forecourt for many months. After all, before the commodities are even shipped, they give us all the information. So we receive the information well in advance of the arrival of the consignment.

“I cannot see why we always wait for commodities to stay at the port for so long and attract the mortgage when, especially, we have custom bonded warehouses where these commodities can be moved immediately after arrival so we do not attract the charges. But the duty bearers who are supposed to ensure that this works and works very well are sleeping on the job.

“I’m sorry to put it that way. And it is so embarrassing for some of us that we continue to fail to do our work and put the country and the government in such a bad light in the sight of our development partners. It’s so bad. It shouldn’t happen.”

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Dr. Atuahene emphasized the importance of collaboration with the private sector to secure financing for HIV response in the country.

He noted that in many other African countries, the private sector plays a crucial role in funding healthcare initiatives, and Ghana should follow suit.

The Director-General identified the National Health Assurance as a primary source of funding and highlighted the need to explore additional sources, such as budgetary allocations outlined in Act 938.

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