Virginia Palmer (middle), the US Ambassador to Ghana, being conducted round the regional medical store
Virginia Palmer (middle), the US Ambassador to Ghana, being conducted round the regional medical store

US Ambassador ends working visit to Upper West Region

The Upper West Regional Directorate of Health Services has appealed to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for assistance to upgrade the Regional Medical Store (RMS) to protect drugs under their care.

It said the current regional medical store constructed as far back as 1997 was inadequate to contain the volume of drugs required to meet the increasing population of the region.

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The Regional Director of Health Service, Dr Damien Punguyire, made this request when the United States Ambassador to Ghana, Virginia Palmer, paid a working visit to the region to inspect their various interventions, especially the supply-chain systems, to protect the drugs they had been supplying over the years. She was accompanied by the Charge d’Affairs of the German Embassy, Sivine Jansen.

Dr Punguyire said the USAID had over the years provided $11.5 million worth of critical health commodities to support HIV, family planning, malaria, tuberculosis and COVID-19 programmes and to meet the various needs of the people in the region.

According to the Regional Director, the state of the medical store gave them a lot of headache on how to store large quantities of medicine and non-medicine logistics and equipment they received.

“The region acknowledges the US Government support in funding the Global Health Supply Chain Programme to ensure an uninterrupted supply of health commodities to clients in health facilities in the country,” he said.

Recapitalise RMS

Dr Punguyire also mentioned the delay in the reimbursement of their claims by the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) and also in updating the cost of drugs to meet the current prices, as factors impeding the healthcare delivery in the region. He said so far they had submitted a claim of GH¢10.9 million, which was still unpaid.

“Financial challenges due to the NHIS erratic reimbursements are serious threat to the sustainability of the medical store. There is an urgent need for the recapitalisation to put this place back in shape. Currently, the Service Delivery Points owe the RMS an amount of GH¢17.8 million, while the RMS owes private pharmaceutical firms an amount of GHc 10.9 million”, he said.

Supply chain

Ms Virginia Palmer expressed her profound gratitude to the staff of the health directorate for their hard work in spite of the hardships brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and the present economic situation.

She said over the years the USAID had collaborated with the Ghana Government through the supply of basic medicines and non-medicine logistics and equipment to support the health of the people.

Ms Jansen also commended the security personnel in the area and noted that the German Government was ready to cooperate with the Ghana Government to keep the borders safe.

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