The Ministry of Health (MOH) and Ghana Health Service (GHS) are working to improve access to medicines and medical supplies as an essential requirement for the health and prosperity of Ghanaians.
In view of this, they are receiving technical support from the Global Health Supply Chain-Procurement and Supply Management (GHSC-PSM) Programme, to implement interventions to strengthen the supply management of health commodities within the health sector, to ensure interrupted access to high quality and affordable health commodities at the last mile.
Under the partnership, a new Health Commodity Supply Chain Master Plan (SCMP) spanning between 2021 and 2025 has been developed to provide strategic direction and guidance for the implementation of supply chain interventions over the next five years.
Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, the Minister of Health, in Accra, launched the Master Plan and re-inaugurated the Procurement and Supply Committee Technical Working Group (PSC-TWG) whose work was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak.
He said the Ministry was working to improve capacity of the Supply Chain (SC) to forecast, procure, and deliver essential medicines, and this ought to be driven by strategic leadership and collaboration to achieve Ghana’s vision regarding the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and the Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
He explained that the previous SCMP 2015 to 2020, systematically identified challenges in Ghana’s public health SC, outlined objectives for the future, and proposed interventions.
He however mentioned some major achievements worth recognizing over its implementation as the progress in the development of national policies, guidelines, and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs); scheduled deliveries to service delivery point (SDP) – the last mile delivery (LMD); as well as in the design and rollout of the Ghana Integrated Logistics Management Information System (GhiLMIS).
Mr Agyeman-Manu said in strategic alliance with health partners, notably the Global Fund and USAID, the MOH and its agencies also implemented SC reforms that witnessed a successful adoption of framework contracting mechanism for procurement of critical, lifesaving and high-value health commodities at competitive prices.
He mentioned other achievements as the development of a warehousing policy based on network optimization, deployment of aerial unmanned vehicles (drones), to augment the last mile distribution efforts especially to hard-to-reach areas that needed lifesaving health commodities for emergency care, and the institutionalisation of SC coordination and governance framework at all levels of the value chain.
The health minister said an assessment of these recent achievements and remaining challenges in the SCMP 2015 to 2020 clearly showed that there remained a few interventions for the Ministry to meet its goals.
Mr Agyeman-Manu said the new SCMP would over a five-year period, direct efforts towards achieving the health-related SDGs and UHC, and encouraged the PSC-TWG to work hard to sustain Ghana’s image on the global health arena as an epitome of hope for quality healthcare delivery in the West African sub-region.
He also thanked all the health partners for their sustained support, and called for massive stakeholder collaboration for the successful implementation of the Master Plan.
Mr Leslie Vanderpuijie, the Chief Pharmacist for Eastern Region, gave an update on the Supply Chain Reforms, including the key interventions and achievements as earlier mentioned by the Health Minister in his address.
He however said Ghana was yet to reach the target of Abuja Declaration on Health Commodity Supply Chain, due to the saddled challenges, such as poor management and accountability at various levels affecting working capitals of medicines, and financial sustainability.
There was also the issue of low quality of human resources as in health procurement professionals, as well as the absence of monitoring and evaluation on the capabilities of key supply chain milestones.
Dr Edward Bright Agyekum, the Director, Procurement and Supply Chain, MOH, said the new SCMP focused on the four transformation pillars of sustainability, transparency, innovation, and collaboration, to ensure consistent emphasis and connection to the ultimate national goals by addressing the identified weaknesses in the previous Master Plan.