Dr Emmanuel K. Ireland, National Chairman, CPPA, said if their plea was not given the needed attention, they would be forced to either reduce working hours or close their pharmacies to safeguard their lives.
“It has come to the notice of the leadership of the CPPA that a number of our Community Pharmacies and Pharmacists have been attacked and robbed by armed robbers.”
“The most recent attack happened on Monday December 20, 2021 at about 2110 hours in Kromoase near Aburaso, a suburb of Kumasi in the Ashanti Region,” he stated on Wednesday at a press conference in Accra over recent attacks and/or armed robberies on Community Pharmacies and Pharmacists in the country.
Dr Ireland called on Dr George Akuffo Dampare, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to investigate all reported cases of robbery against Community Pharmacists and Pharmacies.
He also asked the IGP to provide security and patrol services to Community Pharmacies in the country, adding that, they were ready to collaborate with the Police to protect lives and properties.
Dr Ireland appealed to Mr Ambrose Dery, Minister of the Interior, to intervene and urged Regional, Municipal and District Security Councils to urgently find a way to keep the pharmacies safe.
He said in 2021 alone, out of 25 robbery cases reported to the Association, 40 per cent of the victims had experienced such attacks once.
Dr Ireland said 32 per cent had experienced it twice, four per cent had been attacked thrice and 18 per cent had been robbed five times.
He said in Greater Accra alone, 64 per cent of such cases where reported, the Ashanti Region had 24 per cent of such cases whilst the Central, Brong Ahafo and Western Regions, experienced four per cent of the attacks respectively.
Dr Ireland urged all Community Pharmacists to be more vigilant and security conscious during the Christmas and New Year season.
“Take very important measures to protect yourselves, Pharmacies and homes. Install CCTV cameras for surveillance and report any robbery or attack to the Police with very significant evidence,” he advised.
He also advised them to insure the pharmacies so that in case they were attacked, they could be financially cushioned back to their feet.
Mr Micheal Coffie, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Health Consult Pharmacy at Teshie Nungua Estate, narrated how he had suffered robbery attacks on six different occasions.
He said he suffered his first attack on January 25, 2002 when his vehicle was robbed from him at gunpoint just when he had closed from his pharmacy.
“In 2008, I was away in London and then I had a call that armed robbers had attacked my pharmacy around 0800 hours and had locked up my staff in the toilet. They bolted with money, perfumes and medicines. Fortunately they did not harm anybody,” he recounted in the second incident.
He said the sixth attack, burglary, happened on April 14, this year, on Valentines Day, when in his absence, robbers broke into the pharmacy, took away their generator, CCTV and many other items.
Mr Coffie said they had now installed sophisticated CCTV to improve surveillance and roll out more robust security strategies to deter criminals.
“We have now fortified the places by fixing iron gates and about twenty padlocks for both gates so it’s like a Heaven’s gate. By the time you finish opening all the padlocks, you won’t be blessed to get away without being caught,” he said.
He said community pharmacies were the first point of call to citizens who needed urgent medical care, as such, security agencies should let their plight be of interest to them.