Mr John Odai-Tettey, the Acting Central Regional Director of the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has cautioned over-the-counter medicine sellers to desist from either stocking or selling prescribed medicines like Tramadol to patients.

He pointed out that sellers who contravened the order would be made to face the full length of the law as the Authority intensified its surveillance and public education campaigns.

Mr Odai-Tettey gave the order on Wednesday at a day's training workshop for over-the-counter medicine sellers across the Region to woo their unflinching support to end the increasing abuse of tramadol across the Region.

The goal among others was to educate them on the need to operate within the confines of the law with a clear understanding of what they could do and what they could not do regarding the class of medicines they could stock and sell for patients.

Mr Odai-Tettey advised that failing to dispense tramadol to patients was important to end the increasing abuse of the strong pain reliever which had become popular among the public, particularly the youth.

Instead, he urged over-the- counter medicine sellers to direct patients to the accredited pharmacies in their areas of jurisdiction.

Mr Odai-Tettey explained that Tramadol was a restricted medication used to treat moderate to moderately severe pain, but had become almost “a street drug” for the treatment of a normal pain like a headache, sometimes with approval from health practitioners.

Those found in the pharmacy shops were also in higher dosages of 120mg and 220mg which have not been registered by the FDA to be dispensed in Ghana.

The chemical shops [over the counter] are not permitted by law to sell Tramadol while Pharmacies that are authorised are to dispense strictly on a doctor’s prescription.

The FDA has registered only the 50mg and 100mg of the Tramadol tablets but during a market surveillance, it was found out that as high as 120mg and 225mg were on the shelves of some of the chemical and pharmacy shops.

In all a total of 26 pharmacy shops and 22 chemical shops were inspected during the two-day exercise organised by the FDA in seven communities, namely Sunyani, Abesim, Fiapre, Kotokrom, Odomase, Dormaa Akwamu and Asuotiano.

The Brong-Ahafo Regional Head of the FDA, Mr Matthew Gyan Nkum told Graphic Online that out of the 26 chemical shops inspected, only one chemical shop at Abesim near Sunyani was not selling tramadol.

He said the FDA would refer the defaulters to the police for further action.

Mr Nkum observed that some individuals and shop owners were selling the tramadol in their homes in a bid to outwit the FDA and other law enforcement agencies

The Bibiani Government Hospital has taken delivery of an ambulance to aid swift response to medical emergencies and referrals.

It was a donation from a private company, Daniel Kwame Korankye Company Limited - dealers in building materials.

The company additionally made available 1,000 bags of cement in support of five schools – Kukuom Nursing School, Nyinahin Senior High School (SHS), Nyinahin Islamic School, Bibiani SHS and Goaso SHS.

This was timed to coincide with the opening of the company’s new branch office at Nyinahin in the Atwima-Mponua District.

Mr. D. K. Korankye, its Chief Executive Officer (CEO), said it would continue to give back to society and contribute to the common good.

He expressed its readiness to give strong support to the government’s signature one-district one-factory programme and appealed to the chiefs to release lands.

Nana Oti Boaduwaa, Akwamuhene of Nyinahin, on behalf of the beneficiaries thanked the company for what he termed as “a wonderful gesture”.

In line with its commitment to ensuring the socio-economic advancement of communities in which it operates, Vivo Energy Ghana, the leading retailer and marketer of Shell-branded fuels and lubricants has donated a digital dental x-ray machine to the New Abirem Government Hospital in Birim North District of the Eastern region.

The donation was done in partnership with Newmont Golden Ridge Limited’s Akyem Mine, and intends to complement an ultra-modern dental chair which was installed by Vivo Energy Ghana last year.

The digital x-ray machine which has two main components (the x-ray machine and the digitizing device) has a number of modern features to improve the dentist and patients’ experience.

Presenting the health equipment, the Managing Director of Vivo Energy Ghana, Mr. Ebenezer Faulkner said Vivo Energy Ghana has the vision of becoming Africa’s most respected energy business. 

“As part of our business principles, we commit to contributing to sustainable development in the markets where we operate. This requires balancing short and long-term interests, integrating economic, environmental and social considerations into business decision-making. To make this a reality, our company has gone beyond simply running a business to serving communities where we operate – not just through providing high quality Shell products and services, but also through the critical areas of our sustainable development initiatives,” he emphasized.

Dr. Matsidiso Rebecca Moeti, World Health Organization (WHO) Africa Regional Director has asked African countries to see Universal Health Coverage (UHC) as good economic investment.

This is because, “healthier populations drive economic growth, development and prosperity, improved health security, reduced poverty and better gender equity”, she said.

Dr Moeti said this in an address read on her behalf at the third University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS) Leadership Lecture Series in memory of Professor John Evans Atta Mills in Ho.

The Lecture was on the theme, “Transform health and accelerate sustainable development in Africa: Addressing Universal Health Coverage through Regional and Global Transformation”.

She noted that though health expenditure in Africa went up over the past two decades, the achievement was mainly due to external aids and challenged the continent to take responsibility of the health of its citizens.

Dr. Moeti asked leaders of the continent to address “critical gaps” of service provision capacity and quality of care to break barriers to UHC.

She said “health protection is still low across Africa-11 million Africans fall into poverty due to high out-of-pocket health payments every year,” and “ health system preparedness for public health emergencies is still in its infancy,” begging for investments.