Dr Emmanuel Kofi Dzotsi, the Upper East Regional Director of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), says inadequate and erratic supplies of medicines and non-medicines to the Regional Medical Store is a major challenge to service delivery in the Region.
He said tracer medicines availability in the Regional Medical Store reduced from 74.6 per cent in 2021 to 39.7 per cent in 2022, “This has made most of the health facilities in the Region lack essential medicines which is affecting health delivery.”
Dr Dzotsi emphasized that the inadequate and erratic supply of those critical medicines and non-medicines, negatively affected health service delivery in the Region.
The Director was speaking on the theme; “The role of quality data in improving service delivery outcomes,” at the 2022 annual performance review meeting of the GHS in Bolgatanga, the Regional capital.
Dr Dzotsi said some childhood immunization services suffered a decline, “Penta three coverage was not good with a record of 87.4 per cent in 2022 compared to 92.1 per cent in 2021 with a performance target of 95.0 per cent.”
He said Measles-Rubella- two coverage was 74.7 per cent as against a target of 90 per cent, noting that “This was due to the shortage of routine vaccines in the second half of 2022, the Bawku conflict, documentation challenges and inadequate motorbikes for outreach services.”
He said Antiretroviral Therapy and viral load testing score rate of 57.8 per cent and 52.0 per cent in 2022 had fallen from scores of 105.5 per cent and 53.0 per cent in 2021.
According to Dr Dzotsi, the fall in percentages was due to enhanced data cleaning exercise in the electronic tracker and change in numerator without corresponding change in denominator.
He said the GHS in the Region was determined to achieve better results, with quality data, reinforced commitment of all health managers, personnel, and collaborators to identify innovative approaches to attain set performance targets for increased access to quality essential health care.
Following Dr Dzotsi’s concern about the inadequate and erratic supply of medicines and non-medicines, the Ghana News Agency (GNA) visited random public health facilities in Bolgatanga to assess the situation.
At some of the facilities, patients were made to buy Intravenous (IV) medicines including metronidazole, ciprofloxacin, Normal Saline (NS), Dextrose Normal Saline (DNS), morphine, pethidine, paracetamol syrup and iron III syrup, among others.
For non-medicines, even though some facilities had few infusion sets, patients were compelled to buy urine bags, gauze, cotton wool and plasters for wound dressing.
The GNA gathered that the situation gave private pharmacies and Over-The-Counter medicine sellers the opportunity to take advantage of the situation to make more profits.