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Global Fund Warns of Possible Termination of Support to Ghana Due to Delayed Medication Clearance

Written by on June 10, 2024

The Global Fund has issued a final ultimatum to Ghana, demanding immediate clearance of tuberculosis (TB) and malaria medications that arrived in the country last October.

According to the fund, despite assurances from the government, a portion of the shipments remains stuck at the port and risks expiration.

In April, the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) announced it had secured tax waivers to enable the clearance of the drugs after months of delay.

However, demurrages and third-party charges are accumulating, totaling seven million cedis, which must be settled.

Due to this debt, more than 118 containers are stranded at the port.

Samuel Hackman, from the Global Fund Coordinating Mechanism Secretariat, expressed concern that the situation not only affects the $45 million worth of commodities but also strains Ghana’s relationship with the Global Fund.

“It is as dire as it was two months ago because the issue has not been fully resolved. This issue we are referring to is part of the $45 million commodities that were procured by the Global Fund under the GC Six Ghana, and part of it is still being held at the port. It’s very worrying. And it’s also tarnishing the relationship that we have with the Global Fund as a country.”

“They have indicated clearly to us that they would have taken action earlier but for the long-standing relationship they would want to maintain and see if the promises we have made will be fulfilled within a specified time frame. If not, we risk exclusion.

The Global Fund needs to justify this to its donors, and the management must explain this to their superiors. So nobody wants to be in a position to relay this type of communication, which doesn’t yield anything. If these commodities are not removed from the port promptly— and promptly means now—then communication will be received from the Global Fund.”

Meanwhile, hospitals nationwide are grappling with critical shortages of essential drugs, particularly TB medications, due to the backlog at the port.

President of the Ghana HIV and AIDS Network, Ernest Amoabeng Ortsin, stressed the urgency of this issue.

“It is true that we have depleted our stock of TB medications. It is also true that the Global Fund has signaled its intention to sever ties with us as a country. When it comes to treatment for these two diseases, such as HIV and TB, if medication is interrupted, resistance can develop. Subsequently, when you resume medication, it may prove ineffective. This would necessitate transitioning to second-line medications, which are even more costly.”

“These medicines are not even procured by the Ghanaian government; they are provided to us for free, yet we are unable to clear them from our port. It’s perplexing.”

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