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CSO Networks threaten demo over US$40 million locked-up shipment

CSO Networks threaten demo over US$40 million locked-up shipment

The Coalition of CSO Networks in HIV, Tuberculosis (TB), and Malaria hinted at demonstrating after a shipment containing health care items valued at over US$40 million got locked-up at Tema Port,

These items, including Antiret­rovirals (ARVs), TB medications and Malaria treatments, have been locked up since May, 2023, causing critical shortages at health facilities nationwide.

At a press briefing in Accra on Monday, convener of the Ghana HIV and AIDS Network, Mr Er­nest Amoabeng Ortsin, described the situation as dire as it had re­sulted in unnecessary loss of lives, prompting urgent action to avert a looming public health emergency.

He said “Global Fund has been a crucial supporter of Ghana’s health initiatives, contributing over US$1.2 billion since 2002.”

“Despite their consistent aid, the government is demanding exor­bitant taxes and port charges for clearing the donated commodities, contrary to the Framework Agree­ment exempting such charges,” Mr Ortsin said.

Efforts by a 12-member Global Fund delegation in March 2024, he said, failed to resolve the impasse, leading to the suspension of all future commodity shipments until the current issue was resolved.

According to Mr Ortsin, the consequences were grave, as hun­dreds of thousands of Ghanaians rely on Global Fund donations for life-saving medications.

“For instance, more than 250,000 individuals living with HIV depend on Global Fund-spon­sored ARVs. Furthermore, the country’s health sector stands to lose additional support from the Global Fund if such issues are not checked,” he added.

Mr Ortsin mentioned that Gha­na faced another issue regarding its commitment to co-finance Grant Cycle Seven (GC7) of the Global Fund.

Explaining, he said as per the agreement, Ghana must contribute 15 per cent of the US$248 million grant, approximately US$45 mil­lion, to support health initiatives.

However, the required commit­ment, he said, had not been met yet, jeopardising future funding and threatening progress towards ending the three diseases by 2030.

“The urgency of addressing these issues cannot be overstated, as lives hang in the balance due to bureaucratic impasses and funding gaps,” Mr Ortsin added.

He also revealed plans to demonstra­te on Wednesday, April 17, 2024, starting at Obra Spot, Kwame Nkrumah Circle Interchange, at 7 am to demand immediate action from the government and charged all CSO activists and concerned citizens to join the demonstration.

Source: www.spotonnews.net

Joyceline Natally Cudjoe

An Entertainment Columnist, Content Writer, Blogger, Novelist, Poet, and a Publicist. For business or story tip off, contact me on +233 24 646 6866 or email: [email protected]

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