The Global Fund has issued a final ultimatum to Ghana, warning that it will cease all funding by the end of June if the country fails to clear over 120 containers of essential drugs currently stuck at the Tema port.

These containers have been held up since May 2023, despite repeated promises by the government to resolve the issue.

The government had pledged to clear the backlog of 182 containers, but as of now, only about 60 containers have been cleared since April. The essential drugs, valued at $40 million and donated by the Global Fund, are critical for the treatment and prevention of diseases such as HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria.

Ernest Ortsin, the acting Chair of the Country Coordinating Mechanism of the Global Fund, told GHOne TV’s Evelyn Araba Aidoo that the government’s sole responsibility is to cover the taxes, levies, and port charges, which amount to approximately $3.6 million.

Mr. Ortsin emphasized the urgency of the situation and the potential repercussions of failing to meet the clearance deadline.

In response to the delay, the Coalition of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in HIV and AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria has announced plans to stage a demonstration on June 25. They aim to protest the government’s inaction, which has left vital medical commodities, including antiretroviral drugs, insecticide-treated nets, rapid diagnostic test kits, and cartridges, languishing at the port.

The situation has already had severe consequences. Health stakeholders warn of an imminent tuberculosis outbreak, as the country has run out of TB medications since May. Currently, health facilities are rationing these critical drugs, a practice that threatens to worsen the health crisis and endanger lives.

Source: Ghana/ Mensah