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Saturday, May 25, 2024

Gov’t holds handing-over ceremony as GRA finally clears 14 containers carrying medications at Tema Port after 7 months –

The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has eventually cleared some 14 out of 182 containers at the Tema Port, holding antiretrovirals, Tuberculosis (TB) and malaria medicines that were donated by the Global Fund.

The Government of Ghana received 435 containers at the Tema Port between August 2023 and February 2024 containing anti-HIV, TB and malaria medicines and mosquito nets for distribution across the country.

The clearance comes after intense pressure was mounted on the Ministry of Health by stakeholders in the health sector and members of the general public over the delay in the release of the drugs.

The Ministry of Health (MoH) assured its stakeholders and the public that significant progress has been made in clearing the remaining containers holding antiretrovirals, Tuberculosis (TB) and malaria medicines by Friday, 12th April 2024.

The Health Ministry pledged that some 20 containers would be cleared today, but only 14 containers were cleared. A handing-over ceremony was held today to announce this latest development.

At the ceremony, it was revealed that a special provision of GHC40 million was made by the Ministry of Finance to cover transnational taxes, AU and ECOWAS levies on the containers.

What remained outstanding were third-party charges, which the donors, per reports, had decided to take up.

“Unfortunately, upon arrival of the consignment at the port, the associated charges could not be paid. This information was also not communicated to the Ministry of Finance on time,” a government official said.

Earlier, the Coalition of Civil Society Organisations in Health raised concerns about the government’s ability to resolve the issue of delayed lifesaving drugs stuck at the port.

Executive Director of the Africa Center for Health Policy Research and Analysis, Dr. Thomas Anaba, has revealed that the delay in clearing medical supplies donated by the Global Fund has resulted in a significant increase in tuberculosis, malaria, and HIV/AIDS cases.

“There is an increase in the cases of tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS from last year’s figure, and the complications of people dying from AIDS have also increased. Women getting malaria during pregnancy have increased because of this.”


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