No drugs: Ashanti regional medical store is empty

The only regional medical store of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) in the Ashanti Region can no longer supply pharmaceutical products to public health facilities because of depleted stock.

Regional Director of Health, Alexis Nang-Beifubah says the regional store has no money to procure medicines for the dependent health facilities.

“We buy medicines, nobody gives us medicines for free. In fact, the Regional Medical Stores are empty. They owe suppliers and now they don’t have the money to buy more.

“We have given them (public health facilities) all the medicines but we don’t have money to buy more. So we have opened tender to buy some more but as at yesterday only one person brought the quotation because they know we can’t pay as a result they won’t bring the quotations.

“If we don’t have, we can’t supply, they (public health facilities) too can’t buy[on credit] from private suppliers because they owe them”, worried Dr. Nang-Beifubah explained.

The regional medical store for the past eight months owes suppliers over GH¢11million.

This means patients seeking health care in the region would have no option than to find alternative sources to access drugs.

This comes at a time when the Ashanti regional branch of the Medical Superintends Group rescinded a March 15 ultimatum to stop providing services to National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) card holders in the region as a result of unpaid claims.

The National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) has failed to reimburse health facilities to enable them honor their financial obligations to suppliers.

Checks indicate health facilities were reimbursed up to only June 2014. This means the NHIA is in arrears of about eight months, instead of the mandated three months.

About 15 major health facilities are owed to the tune of about GH¢15 million in unpaid claims, a situation which prompted a warning to charge NHIS subscribers for services rendered.

Some of these facilities also owe external suppliers huge sums of money and have been threatened with court actions.

Ashanti Regional Chairman of the Medical Superintends Group, Nana Yaw Manu, after a meeting with officials of the Regional Health Directorate, told Luv News the group wants a substantial amount of the debt owed them by the NHIA cleared by the end of March, 2015.

Currently, only buffer drugs are available at the regional medical store. This was revealed by the Regional Health Director, Dr. Nang-Beifubah, at an annual performance review.

With a worried voice, he has asked authorities to expedite action to salvage the situation.

Dr. Nang-Beifubah says the situation has resulted in instances where facilities are threatened with court actions by private suppliers.

Meanwhile, the Health Minister, Dr. Kwaku Agyemang-Mensah during his 4-day regional tour in Kumasi recently announced that the Ministry has directed the NHIA to pay all outstanding claims by March ending.

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