Moves to rid W/ Africa of inferior medicines

Madam Tina Naa Ayeley Mensah(fourth from right) Deputy Minister of Health  in a pose with the participants.  .Photo; Vincent Dzatse.

Madam Tina Naa Ayeley Mensah (fourth from right), Deputy Minister of Health, in a pose with the participants. Photo: Vincent Dzatse

The influx of substandard medicines on the West African market is slowing down efforts by governments to promote quality healthcare in the sub region, according to the Director General of West African Health Organisation (WAHO), Dr Xavier Crespin.

He said there was an urgent need for West African countries to adopt a common regulation to address the situation.

Dr Crespin made this observation at a health forum in Accra yesterday, held on the theme: “Public-private partnership for the health sector”.

It aimed at establishing a high-level dialogue platform to enable the public and private sectors communicate and share ideas for sustainable collaboration in the health sector.

It brought together stakeholders from the private sector, technical and financial partners of member states of the Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS), and Health and Finance ministries of member states to discuss ways of promoting public-private partnership.

Dr Crespin said that a draft of the regional strategic framework for public-private partnership in health within the ECOWAS region, has been presented to the participants of the forum to galvanise support for regulations that could check substandard medicines.

He explained that the aim of the framework was to offer the highest level of healthcare and protection to communities in the sub region based on harmonised policies of member states.

“One of the critical aspects of the document is the focus on how to improve legislations and promote institutional reforms that will help pool common resources and ensure cooperation among West African countries,”Dr Crespin said.

He  attributed the inability of member states to adequately address health challenges to poor communication between the public and private sectors.

Dr Crespin expressed concern about the failure of West African countries to allocate 15 per cent of their national budget to the health sector.

According to him, ECOWAS countries had agreed to provide a 15 percent budget allocation to promote health in their respective countries but none had been able to achieve the target since the agreement in Abuja, Nigeria some years ago.

Dr Crespin  urged ECOWAS member states to increase their budget for the health sector as stipulated in the Abuja Declaration.

The Minister of Health, Mr Kwaku Agyemang Manu, in a speech read on his behalf, reiterated the commitment of the government to increase budget allocation for the health sector.

He said government was also looking for more avenues to increase support for rural community care and to provide the needed infrastructure and health policies.

By Charles Amankwa 

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