Change procurement system for psychotropic drugs – Dr. Armah

The Medical Director of the Ankaful Psychiatric Hospital, Dr. Armah Aloo, has appealed to the Ministry of Health (MoH) to endeavour to change the procurement system for psychotropic drugs to ensure regular supplies.

He suggested that the drugs should be purchased separately from general drugs for physical ailments because the pattern of demand for psycho drugs was different.

Dr. Armah was speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) at the Ankaful Psychiatric Hospital on Friday. The hospital has about 350 patients on admission with many others as out-patients who come for treatment on appointment because of their conditions.

He said procurement bills sent to the Ministry, had to go through long processes and sometimes they (bills) had to wait to be purchased together with drugs for general ailments. This he indicated was causing delays and subsequent shortages at the Psychiatric Hospitals.

Dr. Armah said the biggest challenge of the hospital was the delay in getting the required drugs and the inadequate quantities, nothing “for instance when an order is made for about 20,000 drugs we get only about 10,000” he added.

He said because the hospital does not get enough drug supplies, sometimes it was forced to keep the little it had for only the inmates, leaving out-patients to fend for themselves.

He also expressed concern that mental patients were not covered by the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), making it difficult for the hospital to treat them when they contracted even physical ailments like malaria.

The Medical Director explained that in such instances the meagre grant the hospital gets from government had to be used to treat the patients because the drugs that government provided for free, were purely psychotropic drugs and that they did not include general drugs like “paracetamol” and “amoxicillin”.

The Assistant Chief Pharmaceutical Technician Alhaji Ben Mahmood re-echoed calls to the Ministry of Health to ensure regular supply of the drugs to curb any serious problems among the patients.

Source: GNA

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