General News of Friday, 16 January 2015
President John Mahama has said somebody must be held responsible for the fire disaster that ravaged the Central Medical Stores (CMS) in the Tema Heavy Industrial Area a few days ago.
“The fire service are investigating and coming up with their report and whatever the report says – if it was arson, it’s criminal; if it was fire that occurred by accident, then we also have to ask: ‘What is the state of fire preparedness for sensitive installations like this? And somebody must take some responsibility,” President Mahama said Friday when he inspected the fire-ravaged facility.
“We can’t continue to have this kind of situation happen where the nation loses so much money,” he deplored.
Fire officers struggled for close to 48 hours to completely douse the inferno which consumed virtually all medical consumables and equipment housed at the facility.
The Ministry of Health has estimated the loss at a cost of about Gh¢237 million.
The Central Medical Stores is Ghana’s largest drug storage depot, from where all medical consumables and equipment are distributed to hospitals and health posts across the country.
Among the drugs destroyed are anti-retroviral and anti-malarial drugs.
Reports picked up by StarrFMonline.com say it is more than likely that the facility did not have a fire certificate.
Speaking to Starr Today, Thursday, the chairman of the Fire Service Council Alhaji Amadu Sorogo, said he cannot confirm or deny that aspect of the report, but eventually it will be made public.
It has, however, been confirmed by the PRO of the Health Ministry, Tony Goodman that the facility was not insured.
The fire, which has been described as a “disaster” by the Ghana Health Service has put Ghana’s healthcare sector in a dire position as the stock available at the regional stores could last for only three months.
About 15 fire tenders from the Tema Oil Refinery, Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, and the Military helped in fighting the blaze.
President Mahama told Journalists at the ravaged stores that: “To have a facility like this burnt down by fire, the inventory is too huge to even contemplate.”
“All the medical supplies belonging to government and even medical supplies and equipment given by donors have all got burnt in this facility,” he bemoaned.