The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has directed that the manufacture and sale of chloroquine for the treatment of malaria in the country should stop.
The Food and Drugs Board (FDB) has, therefore, stopped issuing permits for the importation of raw materials for the manufacture of the drug.
In an interview in Accra, the Director of Public Health of the GHS, Dr George Amofah, said that the one-year transitional period for the manufacture and sale of chloroquine as monotherapy for the treatment of malaria was over.
He said since the accepted drug for the treatment of the disease was Artesunate Amodiaquine, which was a combination drug, there was no need to continue to manufacture or sell something else.
Dr Amofah reiterated that the first line drug for the treatment of malaria was artesunate amodiaquine, which was found to have a complete cure, adding that the use of single drugs such as chloroquine and artesunate or amodiaquine separately, could result in resistance.
Records at the National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP) indicated that more than 90 malarial patients received cure with the use of artesunate amodiaquine as compared to about 20 when chloroquine was used.
Reacting to problems associated with the use of artesunate amodiaquine by some people, Dr Amofah said the drug should not give any problems when administered correctly.
He advised that the weight of a patient should be taken into consideration before the drug was administered and also it should be taken after meals.
Dr Amofah said a committee had been set up to look into new combination drugs which people who react to artesunate amodiaquine could use.
On the manufacture and sale of chloroquine, the Chief Executive of the Food and Drugs Board (FDB), Mr Emmanuel K. Agyarko, said since the drug was no more in use, the board had to stop giving permits for the importation of raw materials for its manufacture.
The Ministry of Health states that the artesunate amodiaquine combination is the first choice drug for the treatment of uncomplicated malaria.
The Ministry explains that the choice of that combination drug to replace chloroquine for the management of malaria was based on clear scientific evidence and with the full collaboration of the World Health Organisation.
The Ministry of Health will not sell the health of Ghanaians, it states.
Story by Lucy Adoma Yeboah