Kade (E/R), May 13, GNA - More than 10 per cent of medicines available on the world market of both the developed and developing countries were described as counterfeit.
This was disclosed by the Kwaebibirem District Director of Health Services, Dr Patrick Amo Mensah at the launch of this year's Eastern Region Nurses' Week celebration at Kade on Thursday.
The celebration was under the theme: "Nurses for Patient's Safety, Targeting Substandard and Counterfeit Medicine."
Dr Mensah said as a result of the increasing number of these counterfeit drugs in the system and their increasing effects on people, public confidence in health care had been eroded and stressed the need to tackle the problem holistically.
He called on nurses to look up for drugs that are not "intact", those that have been altered, damaged or have unsealed packaging when dispensing medicine.
Dr Mensah charged the nurses to educate the public on the dangers of buying drugs through the Internet or on the street from unauthorized sources in their bid to fight the issue of counterfeit drugs in the country.
The Eastern Regional Chairman of the Ghana Registered Nurses' Association (GRNA), Ms Mary Acheampong, who read the National President's address, said since nurses were at the frontline of health delivery, administration and often prescribing medicine, they must be vigilant for signs of counterfeit drugs.
She said with the introduction of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), there was the likelihood that greedy importers and manufactures might take advantage of the scheme to maximize profit by bringing on board counterfeit and substandard medicines.
Ms Acheampong called on all stakeholders to come together to protect patients and consumers from the harmful effects of these counterfeit drugs through appropriate information and education. The Eastern Regional Director of Health Services, Dr Ebenezer Appiah-Denkyira, whose speech was read on his behalf, called on nurses to do more research so as to write text books for trainee nurses based on the culture of the country.
The Kwaebibirem District Chief Executive (DCE), Mr Yaw Yiadom-Boakye, whose speech was also read on his behalf, noted that as nurses ensure that quality drugs were given to patients, they should also caution the society to visit the hospital rather than resorting to self-medication to avoid being victims of such counterfeit drugs. He appealed to the nurses to consider the huge investments made in their training and resolve to stay home and serve the people as government makes effort to meet their demands.
Earlier, the nurses went on procession through the principal streets carrying placards some of which read "Self Medication is Dangerous", "Always Take Prescribed Drugs", "Get Rid of Counterfeit Drugs".