Ghana faces setback in HIV response after medical warehouse burnt

January 18, 2015 10:57 am 

ACCRA, Jan. 17 — The destruction by fire of Ghana's central medical warehouse posed a serious setback to the country's HIV response, a senior official with the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) said here on Friday.

The Central Medical Stores, a property of the ministry of Health, which sits in the port city of Tema, was gutted by fire last Tuesday.

Girmay Haile, Country Director of UNAIDS in Ghana, said the incident came at a time the country was making significant progress and achievements in the fight against the epidemic.

The fire that lasted for more than two days destroyed a substantial part of the country's medical supplies, hospital beds and other equipment, with preliminary estimates of losses worth more than 237 million cedis (some USD74 million).

The West African country also lost some amount of HIV drugs and other consumables used in the response.

Haile said there would be little repercussions in the coming months but added that the UN agency was in consultation with the Ghanaian government to find a short-term solution to the problem.

"People on treatment need these drugs. They can't miss treatment so this is going to be a real setback in our national anti-HIV efforts," he told Xinhua.

Cosmos Ohene-Adjei, Director of Technical Services at the Ghana AIDS Commission, said efforts were being finalized to ensure emergency shipment of Anti retroviral drugs to augment supply in Ghana.

The U.S. government has also been contacted to support Ghana with the provision of a substantial amount of the drugs lost to the inferno. (PNA/Xinhua)

FFC/JSD

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