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09.07.2005 General News

Regular drugs supply would combat fake drugs


Ho, July 9, GNA - Constant availability of approved drugs and medicines from authorized sources in health facilities could help minimize the public's exposure to fake and counterfeit drugs floating in the country.

Dr. John Eleeza, Ho Municipal Director of Health made the point at the Nurses Week celebration in Ho on Thursday under the theme, "Nurses for patients safety, targeting counterfeit and substandard medicines."

He observed that for as long as patients go looking for prescribed drugs outside the hospitals and health facilities, dealers in fake and substandard drugs would continue to have a field's day.

Dr. Eleeza said one way in which nurses could help stem the proliferation of such drugs and their use by the public would be to refuse to administer injections and drugs from outside the hospitals and health facilities.

He said much as nurses have vital roles to play in checking such drugs and medicines by carefully examining them, their ability to do so is constrained by the pressures under which they worked and the tendency for patients to be impatient.

Dr. D.R.K. Nyamuame, Medical Superintendent In-charge of the Volta Regional Hospital, observed that, "In Ghana ignorance of the existence and the extent of the problem (of fake and substandard medicines) is compounded by the fact that majority of the people who needed medicine are poor and are not able to afford the relatively expensive medications which tend to be those that are efficacious".

He said, under the circumstances the best the nurses and other health professionals could do is to join other stakeholders in the campaign to rid the system of such drugs.

On the role of nurses in helping to deal with the menace, Mr. Christian T. Quao, Volta Regional Officer of the Pharmacy Council recommended that nurses make physical examination of medicines with regard to labels, expiry dates and any traces of tampering.

They should also observe patients to find out if drugs administered to them were failing or if there were any strange side effects and report them immediately to the Pharmacist or Physician. Nurses should also educate patients and the public and encourage them to seek professional advice before they use medicines.

Mr. Quao recommended that these measures must be extended to nursing training institutions. "The Ghanaian Nurse", a magazine published by the Ghana Registered Nurses Association (GRNA) was launched and prizes awarded to outstanding nurses in the region as part of the celebration.