The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) has charged government to halt what it believes could be the start of the collapse of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
It comes after the Chamber of Pharmacy said it can no longer operate on a credit basis due to inflation and the fast depreciation of the cedi, among others.
The GMA says this decision by the Chamber to sell drugs only on a cash basis is worrying and could eventually lead to the collapse of the NHIS.
In an interview with JoyNews on Thursday, the President of the Association, Dr Frank Serebour, noted that the situation would further create more problems.
“Essentially, what it would mean is that there would be a shortage of medicines in the hospitals because the hospitals cannot procure and if they are not able to procure the medicines and there is a shortage when you go there, you won’t get the drug.
“So there are two options; either the drug is written for you to go and buy outside – you may have to buy from your pocket.
“And then one key factor, if you lack emergency drugs, what would happen is that, most often than not, by the time the patient even goes to get the drug and come back or a relative comes in, you may have recorded either a very bad morbidity or mortality,” he highlighted.
According to him, “it is quite worrying and if we are not careful, this is the beginning of the collapse of the National Health Insurance Scheme.”
The Ghana National Chamber of Pharmacy (GNCoP) announced earlier that, given the current economic challenges, the group has decided to provide medicines solely on a cash basis.
“All transactions with immediate effect shall be on a cash basis until the economy stabilises,” President of the Pharmaceutical Importers and Wholesalers Association, William Adum Addo stated at a press conference on Thursday.
Dr Frank Serebour believes this is a wake-up call to authorities including the Ghana Health Service (GHS), the Ministry of Health and the government to intervene.
He urged them to intervene urgently to avert what he described as a looming disaster.
“I am not an economist but I believe something has to happen now; otherwise, the rate at which we are going, this situation that we are seeing as developing is something that if we are not careful we are going to witness some form of a disaster that is akin to what happened on the Titanic Vessel.
“It is important that we look at it critically and carefully because it is more or less like cash and carry that is coming.