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PharmAccess, FDA and CHAG partnering to improve access and affordable medicines in Ghana

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PharmAccess, FDA and CHAG
PharmAccess, FDA and CHAG

PharmAccess launches a digital platform to address barriers of access, affordability and quality of essential medicines in Ghana.

An initiative which aims to address the
barriers of access, affordability and quality of essential medicines in Ghana
through a regulated digital supply chain
platform, has been launched in Accra.

Entrepreneurial Not-for-Profit organization, PharmAccess Ghana’s
digital platform, MED4ALL, is expected to link health service providers with
certified and authentic medicines.

According to the Country Director of PharmAccess Dr Maxwell Maxwell Akwasi Antwi, the project will also cut down turnaround time in acquiring medicines for healthcare delivery.

With an estimated
30% of medicines in Ghana being reported fake or substandard, leading to
failure to treat illnesses and unnecessary deaths, the foundation says
the time has come to reduce these incidents.

“The platform connects trusted medicines to healthcare providers. By trusted we mean medicines approved by the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) and the suppliers themselves having approval by the authority,’’ Dr Antwi told pressmen at the launch of the platform.

He said the platform will also ensure affordability of medicines
for providers, so that “prices are within the purchasing power of the
consumers.”

Another issue the innovation is expected to tackle is drug
shortages.

With the platform, “patients will be able to access
drugs at hospitals, clinics and pharmacies at any given time.”

But how would this work?

Dr Antwi said, “A provider would be required to get onto the MED4ALL platform and log in, and then a dropdown of all essential medicines in Ghana would pop up.”

All the prices of the drugs on the platform would have been
negotiated and the supplies determined.

The provider would then key in the quantum of tablets of
medicines required – after which the supply is automatically notified.

The supplier is expected to make the supply within seven days
and gets paid within thirty days.

PharmAccess Foundation is partnering with the Christian Health
Association of Ghana (CHAG), Ghana’s largest network of private not for profit
health facilities that accounts for an annual 6.5 million patient visits and
admissions across 345 facilities, particularly serving poor and remote
communities.

Speaking at the launch of the digital
platform, Chief Executive Officer of the Christian Health Association of Ghana
(CHAG) Peter K. Yeboah noted
“Ghana
ranks 7th when it comes to substandard spurious fake medicines in
the world, hence
the MED4ALL
project with its embedded digital quality control measures and devices will
ensure medicines quality at all times.”

He said, “CHAG is going
to collaborate with FDA to ensure we leverage their licensing mechanisms
including barcoding of medicines, barcoding, mini lab testing, medicine
transport tracking and use of infrared scanning resources.”

Mr Yeboah assured every medicine that is supplied in a CHAG facility, through MED4ALL, will be submitted to quality assurance testing at all times, with a  unique transport and distribution system instituted to facilitate the chain.

According to him, “all medicines that will be purchased will
be delivered within 7 days at no extra cost to the receiving CHAG facility,
while suppliers are assured of feasible financing mechanisms.”

The CHAG CEO assured suppliers under the MED4ALL project will
be paid within 30 days of delivery and prices will stay 30 percent below the
prevailing prices on the market.

“CHAG seeks to complement government’s efforts in attaining
universal health coverage with sustainable and innovative selection, procurement,
distribution and use of quality affordable medicines in Ghana.”

The
MED4ALL platform already has its first four trusted reputable suppliers of
medicines comprising pharmaceutical giants Kinapharma Ltd, Ernest Chemist Ltd,
Pharmanova Ltd and Tobinco Pharmaceuticals Ltd.

PharmAccess says MED4ALL will be opened up to other public and private facilities after the pilot phase.

Among
the interventions to overcome challenges patients and health institutions face,
the platform will, support healthcare
facilities with effective inventory management tools, and train them to manage
stocks and ordering based on demand.”

MED4ALL
will support facilities with swift access to credit through
the Medical Credit Fund (MCF), part of the PharmAccess Group, which enables
facilities to pre-finance medicine stocks.

In partnership with the National Health
Insurance Authority (NHIA) and Fidelity Bank, MCF pre-finances insurance claims
to enable facilities to buy medicines stock directly, without waiting for many
months or years to pay for medicine suppliers.

PharmAccess Foundation is
an entrepreneurial Not-for-Profit organization with a digital
agenda dedicated to connecting more people to better healthcare in
Africa. In Africa, almost everyone has access to a mobile phone. PharmAccess
Foundation believes that mobile technology is on the verge of improving
healthcare in Africa in a way that none of us can fully imagine yet.



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