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22.04.2004 Regional News

New distribution of drugs system launched in Ho

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Ho, April 22, GNA- A new distribution system to increase essential and quality medicines at reasonable prices, through trained Chemical Sellers, was launched in Ho on Tuesday.

The initiative, called Customer-centred, Affordable, Reliable and Efficient (CARE) health care service is expected to address the distribution of pharmaceutical services in the country.

Dr Melvin George, World Health Organisation (WHO) Representative in Ghana in a speech read for him at the launch, said other chemical sellers should be encouraged to make available reasonably drugs with reasonable prices to the people.

He said the launch of the initiative came at an opportune time when the government's National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) was about to take off.

Dr George said private sector participation in health delivery was important, acknowledging that in Ghana about 40 per cent of the people use the private sector for their health needs.

Mr Alex Banful, Board Chairman of the Ghana Social Marketing Foundation Enterprise Limited (GSMFEL) said while there were about 1,000 privately owned pharmacies located mainly in urban areas, there were over 5,000 Licensed Chemical Sellers (LCS) operating in mainly rural and urban areas where the majority of the people live.

He said the public and private sector collaboration is being managed by (GSMFL) with Technical Assistance from Management Sciences for Health (MSH) a non-profit organisation strengthening health systems worldwide". Mr Banful said the cost of training Chemical Sellers is being borne by the Department for International Development (DFID) of the United Kingdom (UK), through the Ghana Linkages Challenge Fund.

He said the programme would seek to tackle the negative phenomenon in the healthcare system in Ghana.

Mr Banful said there are 135 CARE shops operating in the Volta and Eastern regions.

Mr Kwesi Eghan, Senior Technical Advisor and Field Programme Manager of SEAM Ghana said already the CAREshop initiative had led to a marked improvement in delivery.

He said funding for the SEAM Programme, which is being run in two other African countries, Tanzania and Kenya.

Mr Moses Dani Baah, Deputy Minister of Health in a speech read for him said training must be intensive and regular and coordination effective to ensure the success of the scheme.

Mr Kofi Boateng, Special Assistant to the Volta Regional Minister called on the Customs Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) and other regulatory bodies to ensure that fake and expired drugs were either not brought into or peddled in the country.