Ever since COVID-19 began to wreck humanity with its excruciating jaws, no nation has easily had a good sleep in the attempt to mitigate the pandemic. WHO has encouraged countries and continents to continuously work hard to combat the crisis and Ghana- one of the most prominent countries in West Africa has also been on the forefront. On 18th April, 2020, the Ghana Health Services announced that they have been able to test as many as 60,916 samples with 1.37% testing positive.
The Ministry of Health in Ghana has been very proactive with their operations which have included ensuring that Psychologists, Pharmacists, Doctors, Laboratory Technicians, Nurses among others have all been doing their best to help save the nation. However, there have been some major blows to the health system in Ghana which included the abrupt loss of a very renowned physician, one of the greatest Physicians in history to ever grace the health profession in Ghana, Professor Jacob Plange-Rhule, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
His demise comes as a major blow to the health care system in Ghana and the fight towards the COVID-19. According to a publication made by myjoyonline.com, it could be understood that the Prof. having been admitted at the hospital needed Actemra, a drug used in the treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis to help manage or improve his condition however the drug procurement could not be successful in time thus the unfortunate occurrence. May the soul of our Prof. rest in perfect peace and his legacy will forever remain in our hearts.
Pharmacists are drug experts who are responsible for providing drug advice and counselling to medical doctors, nurses, dentists and all other health professions to well inform prescribing and treatment decisions. The Pharmacist ensures the safe and effective use of drugs standing in between the Doctor(Physician) and the patient. It is the responsibility of Pharmacists to ensure that the right drug is prescribed, administered or given to the right patient at the right dose and dosage amongst other things. Of course, you can’t also talk about procurement of drugs without mentioning Pharmacists. They play an integral role in making drugs readily available for supply in the country where necessary.
Certain eyebrows have been raised about whether there was an incorporation of the resources of the entire Pharmaceutical Sector; Or whether there was the involvement of Pharmacists who are drug experts and the health professionals with the most technical knowledge on drugs into the case management of the late Physician. Probably they were involved but their involvement was still was not enough to aid procurement or help the situation even taking into account the magnitude of, resources, networks and connections that most Pharmacists and Pharmaceutical Companies in Ghana may have overseen. Some question marks have also been raised about if the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana or the Ghana Pharmacists Association organized the relevant stakeholders, parties, industries within the country to collectively act out of benevolence to work towards or support the government in the facilitation of the procurement of the drug through their usual procurement operations as Pharmacists for Actemra or even advise the medical team on other possible drug options that could be used in place of Actemra to give the same drug therapy.
The Big question here is, did the Pharmaceutical Sector in Ghana make efforts to help or did they not? Well, we may not be in the best position to answer that. The only concern here is the issue of Drug Procurement has been mentioned which is why all eyes may look at the Pharmaceutical sector on whether they put in efforts or not.
Some concerns have also been raised on whether or not if even the government or the medical team responsible for looking after that case actually primarily consisted of Pharmacists or recognized Pharmacists within their team knowing the importance of Pharmacists as drug experts in the health care system as far as treatment of conditions is concerned or realized that the entire Pharmaceutical Sector in Ghana could have been consulted to assist with their resources, networks, partners and connections overseas in relation to the procurement of drugs. Well, all these remain unclear and uncertain until the relevant findings are realized.
However, there is even a bigger picture of concern that we should be looking at here, in general, taking into consideration all other Health Professionals. Let us even forget Pharmacists. There are also Laboratory Scientists, Nurses, Dentists, Psychiatrists, Midwives, Physicians, Psychologists, Radiologic Technologists, Therapists, Phlebotomists, Physician Assistants amongst others who are diligent with their wok although some may lack their meritorious recognition or may, unfortunately, find themselves being put behind when the glorious recognition that their hard work should have earned them all this while. The big question is;
Does Ghana even have a unified health system where each profession or member is being made to perform his or her function without any direct or indirect interruption? Does Ghana have a health care system where each member is recognized and acknowledged within their area of expertise and humbly called upon to help in technical situations? Or our beloved country Ghana has now been reduced to a non-unified system where one profession is unrealistically attempting to take the peculiar responsibility of other members for self-glory?
Well, all these are multi-million dollar questions that will take further diligent investigations to find out the truth but for now, we can all wander in our own opinions and assumptions.
As a country, it is important that we learn from our mistakes and that is why it could be imperative for us to investigate and find out from the Pharmaceutical Sector certain clarifications where necessary.
The ball lies in our court, our fate has always been in our own hands; Do we conduct investigations and find out the genuine roots of our problems or we allow another mystery to slide under the carpet and hunt us again one day?
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