In a year that has opened with several fire outbreaks destroying properties across the country, what can Ghana learn from these events?
The fire outbreak at the Central Medical Stores (CMS) on Tuesday January 13, according to the Minister of Health, Dr Kwaku Agyemang-Mensah, destroyed essential medicines, medicine consumables, TB medicines, HIV/AIDS medicines, condoms, insecticide treated nets and Ebola protective equipment among others, valued over GH¢237 million.
The tragic incident has started several conversations on radio and TV as well as on social media. Popular social commentator, Selorm Branttie picked the brains of many on facebook when he asked some thought-provoking questions including the following
1. We have just lost over GHC200 Million worth of drugs at the Central Medical Stores warehouse. Some of these include vital malaria drugs, etc.= about 9% of the total allocated budget for health in the 2014 budget. It all went up in smoke in an afternoon.
2. What are the repercussions? What kinds of medicines were involved, as well as other health supplies.
3. In the face of just ended serious health threats like Cholera, and now Ebola, as well as other initiatives in the area of Tuberculosis, Retrovirals and Vaccination care, among other chronic diseases, NOT ONE SINGLE NEWS STORY HAS DWELT ON ITS POSSIBLE IMPACT, NOT ONE!!!
4. We have not heard about supply mitigation measures, since we know that the process of procuring medicines requires time outlays and procurement processes. We have not heard a single comment from the Ministry of Health over this calamitous issue.
6. From the backdrop of the fire at ECG Warehouses and GridCo, we have not heard from the government about it's plans to mitigate the financial effect of losses from fires to the state kitty.
7. Is it that we take matters so trivial or that we refuse to care about the clear and present dangers facing our HEALTH??
8. In the wake of the supply shortfall, we should be very wary now of fake, cheap alternatives that will suddenly drive its way into the Ghanaian market. We are all aware that the borders and the effective and efficient measures to combat fake and substandard medicines are not optimal. No mention has been made on that in terms of public safety awareness.
9. Is there going to be a committee set for this that will sit through the whole harmattan period before we see a report?
10. Who is responsible/ culpable? We've not heard any substantial statement to that effect. What system failed to enable the fire to ravage such an important building so quickly?
Selorm Branttie certainly raises pertinent concerns, what are your views on the subject? Let's get talking!!