BOXES OF imported drugs supposed to be distributed free of charge to needy patients across the country have been made to expire after the drugs were hijacked at the port for almost eight months.
The drugs including pain killers, antibiotics, hypertensive and diabetic drugs, were to be distributed freely to patients that dont have the financial power to purchase them.
They were donated free by National Cancer Coalition, Americans and Food for the Poor, all from the USA and Klebs Alliance, Germany to the Breast Care International (BCI) Ghana for onward distribution to needy patients.
But bureaucracy and a rent fee of GH¢60,000 being demanded by Ghanaian officials at the port prevented the BCI led by Dr Mrs Wiafe Addai from clearing the drugs from the port on time for their intended purposes.
The BCI Ghana, President made this known during the presentation of drugs to about 80 hospitals scattered across the country at a short but colourful ceremony at the Peace and Love Hospital, Oduom, Kumasi on Monday.
Dr Wiafe Addai who seemed annoyed and dejected said though her outfit duly paid agent and handling fees at the port, authorities still demanded that she paid GH¢60,000 as rent fee, an amount BCI could not readily produce.
She bemoaned that her continuous explanation that the drugs were for charity work fell on deaf ears and this prevented her from clearing the drugs which arrived in the country in October 2012 until June 2013.
Dr Wiafe Addai who is also the CEO of Peace and Love Hospital, said the intervention of Dzifa Ativor, Minister for Transport, proved vital before the drugs were released to her for distribution.
But she complained bitterly that the unnecessary delay of the drugs at the port has resulted in several boxes of drugs that could have been used to save precious lives.
The BCI, she said, should now search for money to destroy the expired drugs and distribute the remaining ones that had not expired to needy patients.
She Addai lamented again that the hijack of the drugs nearly strained the cordial relationship existing between her and the donors who at a time got frustrated about the turn of events.
She admonished those in authority to quickly institute measures to halt the reoccurrence of free drugs that could have been used to save human lives from being hijacked at the port in future.
She said the donor partners started sending free drugs through the BCI to needy patients in the country in 2009, stressing the drugs were very useful to patients that were poor but required medication to live.
Dr Wiafe Addai charged the beneficiary hospitals in the country to donate the medicines freely to needy patients, stressing that the drugs are free, so dont sell them to patients.
She sternly cautioned that any beneficiary institution that would be caught selling the drugs to patients would be made to face the full rigours of the law, urging the beneficiaries to abide by this simple rule for peace to prevail.
Thomas Opoku and Ampadu Agyei, Administrators of Tain and Kwahu Government Hospitals, Atibie, respectively, on behalf of the 80 beneficiary hospitals, showered praises on the donors for their help.
Source: I.F. Joe Awuah Jnr., Kumasi
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