Bolgatanga Nov 2, GNA - The Most Reverend Joseph Afrifa-Agyekum, Bishop for Koforidua Diocese and Episcopal Chairman for Catholic Health Services, on Tuesday, called for a strong regional cooperation force to build to fight the counterfeiting of drugs.
He observed that counterfeiting of pharmaceuticals had taken an international dimension and needed the efforts of all stakeholders worldwide to curb it.
Bishop Afrifa-Agyekum said this at the 8th Annual National Catholic Health Services Conference, held on the theme: "Monitoring for Continuous Improvement: Using Whole System Measures," at Bolgatanga.
He noted that with continuous growing market of counterfeit and substandard medicine, government and quasi health service had taken an urgent need to establish new capacities and build a network between the drug testing institutions in the country.
He said drug counterfeiters take advantage of countries where regulations and law enforcement on drug safety are limited to exploit them and indicated that developing countries where regulatory and enforcement agencies are poorly under funded and understaffed are a haven for production or supply of fake drugs.
Bishop Afrifah-Agyekum called on the government and other stakeholders to lead the crusade through the Food and Drugs Board, Ministry of Health and its regulatory bodies and security agencies to combat the menace.
He mentioned that the delay of reimbursing hospitals and clinics under the National Health Insurance Scheme has become a factor that promotes counterfeiting and urged the authorities to speedily reimburse health facilities to prevent them from buying fake drugs.
He called on the health insurance schemes to appreciate the challenges faced by health providers for speedy redress.
He stated that the Catholic Church was committed to working with the government to achieve the country's target for the Millennium Development Goals.
Mr Mark Woyongo, Upper East Regional Minister, commended the Catholic Church for complementing the government's effort in the delivery of health services.
The Minister said one of the challenges confronting the country was getting health personnel to accept postings to deprived areas where access to health personnel was crucial.
He disclosed that the government was putting in place attractive incentive packages for health workers who would accept postings to the rural and deprived areas.
The Regional Health Director, Dr John Koku Awoonor-Williams, lauded the unique role the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) had played in the region's fight against malnutrition for child survival and its supplementary feeding projects and programmes over the years
He called on the Catholic Health Services to renew its commitment with the Ghana Health Services to integrate health programming, implementation and monitoring as well as harnessing available resources towards implementing cost-effective interventions that could yield the desired result.