The Ministry of Health (MoH) has revealed that the backlog of medical supplies locked at the ports will be cleared within the next two weeks despite ultimatums by the minority and the global fund.

The Minority in Parliament yesterday waded into the controversies surrounding the clearing of over 180 containers of essential medical supplies at the port.

The supplies from Global Fund have been stuck at the port for more than a year now resulting in a threat from the fund to halt further shipments to Ghana.

The development has generated a back-and-forth between the CSOs in the health sector and the government.

The government is arguing the consignment contains only mosquito nets.

Minority spokesperson on Health Kwabena Mintah Akandoh charged the government to get the goods cleared regardless of the contents since the supplies were based on a request from the government describing the development as an international embarrassment.

 Ghana has already run out of TB medications as health facilities have currently rationing TB medications to patients since May 2023.

The government has only been able to clear about 60 of the containers since April.

The remaining containers are part of the 266 containers of essential drugs donated by the global fund at a cost of 40 million dollars.

The government is only required to cater for the taxes, levies, and port charges for the clearance of the commodities which was estimated at US$3.6 million dollars.

Addressing journalists during a tour of some health facilities in Accra, Minister for Health Dr. Bernard Oko-Boye blamed third-party charges and lack of collaboration with the finance ministry led to the delays in clearing the containers.

“We are committed to getting the containers out and for me personally, irrespective of the bureaucracies involved with government and all that I have given myself two weeks. In two weeks, I myself will not be encouraged if there are two more or one more container left at the port.

“In fact, and this one you can take it from me. If by two weeks we still have containers at the port, you will not see me, I will be sitting rather at the port. I will sit at the port with them until everything comes out,” he declared.

“We could have handled this in a better way. There are two factors that accounted for what happened. The processes that we go through to clear containers as a result of some exemption bills that have been put in place, there were new lines to pay some third party charges that were introduced but it is still not an excuse.”

“The Ministry of Health must work closely with the Ministry of Finance. I don’t think it was excellent in the past. We put in place measures to make it seamless so that no Ghanaian will hear that something meant for Ghanaian is stacked at the port”.  

Source: Ghana/ Sackey