Akufo-Addo meets to strategise how to produce sanitizers and medicines in Ghana for Coronavirus

BY: Enoch Darfah Frimpong

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Monday afternoon met with captains of industry to work on how to locally produce materials including sanitizers and medicines as part of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) response in Ghana.

Already, the captains of industry have requested among other things, a tax waiver to enable them go about their businesses, Graphic Online understands.

After the closed-door meeting, President Akufo-Addo posted on Facebook: "On Monday, 16th March, 2020, I met with leaders of our country's pharmaceutical and banking industries to discuss at length how best Ghana can begin to reduce her dependency on imports, in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic."

"We are far too dependent on the things made abroad, and imported by us for use. We should be making most of the things we use in Ghana, and needed to combat the spread of the pandemic, by ourselves. The pandemic has very severe consequences, but it also presents us with an opportunity. They say necessity is the mother of invention, and advisedly so."

President's directive

In a radio interview on Accra based Asempa FM's Ekosii Sen programme monitored by Graphic Online, the Minister of Information, Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah after the meeting explained that President Akufo-Addo has directed the pharmaceutical companies to prepare a paper together with the appropriate ministries within a few days for him to look at it.

Ghana has to prepare

Speaking to journalists after the meeting, the President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana (PSG) said, "...America and all are panicking and therefore Ghana has to prepare because we don't know what will happen tomorrow. Therefore, we tried to find ways where the pharmaceutical manufacturers will make products available for treatment."

"As at now, there is no cure and there is only prevention and supportive treatment. With regards to prevention where we need hand sanitizers and nose masks etc, etc, we are making sure they are easily available but we know that sanitizers have become scarce. We've developed a basic formula where we are trying to sort out with FDA [Food and Drug Authority] so that many pharmacies can make it so that it is easily available at the right price.

Sanitizer prices

"We have seen that sanitizers that are even GH¢4 are now being sold around GH¢30 to GH¢50. So we want every local to be able to buy so we have that in place."

"With regard to the supportive treatment, we are also prepared. We have the machines and the lines to be able to do that. I have asked manufacturers to put aside their normal production schedules and bring up products that will be used to support the COVID-19 so that we make sure that those products are easily available. Fortunately the President wants us to move even further to make sure that the pharmaceutical industry is more resourced, more companies come up and more factories are build so that in future we can be self-sufficient in even export to the neighbouring countries who are not as strong as we are and a small group has now been formed for us to meet and deliberate and go into details as to the modalities for the implementation of this discussion."

Early on, in a Facebook post on Monday morning, [March 16, 2020) President Akufo-Addo said he was "very encouraged by the broad acceptance of the enhanced measures announced on Sunday, 15th March, to combat the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic in the country."

"As I indicated, the measures announced will be under constant review, as will the enhanced hygiene protocols being observed by establishments and businesses, such as night clubs and drinking spots. The most important things are maintaining good hygiene and social distancing, whoever you are, wherever you are," President Akufo-Addo posted.

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