Health Minister mad over proliferation of pharmacy shops and laboratories

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The Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman Manu, has raised an alarm over the proliferation of pharmacy shops and laboratories in and around the Korle Bu and Komfo Anokye Teaching hospitals in Accra and Kumasi respectively.

The Korle Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH) alone has as many as 55 private laboratory outlets dotted along a kilometre stretch, purporting to be providing laboratory services.

But, according to the Minister, the sort of services being rendered by these private entities is nothing to write home about, warning that quack laboratory technicians have invaded the sector, which is a source of worry to the government.

Speaking based on evidence, he said: “One major area of concern to the Ministry is [the] activities of quacks, who have invaded the health delivery system, particularly the medical laboratories and pharmaceutical practice.”

According to him, sometimes single tests conducted by these quack laboratories give different results.

The Minister, who was speaking at the commissioning of the Allied Health Profession Council building at KBTH on Tuesday, this week, said the development was not only rampant at both Korle Bu and Komfo Anokye, but other teaching hospitals in Cape Coast and Tamale as well.

He called on the Pharmacy Council to collaborate with other medical associations to weed out the quacks from the profession, adding: “This cannot be accepted in our country. The harm being caused by these people to the unexpected public cannot be overemphasised.

“Who opened these laboratory and pharmacy shops, and who are the people practicing in them? Is this supposed to happen? I do not think we have that huge market for medical diagnosis, which warrants those about 55 laboratories in less than one kilometre of space, in addition to what we have (at Korle Bu),” he added.

Mr Manu accused the Pharmacy Council of failing to do proper supervision resulting in the springing up of pharmacy shops within 100 metres radius, when it is against the law.

He asked: “So what are we fighting? Market, quality care, image or what is it? I believe the Board and the Council will beef up their game and team up with other agencies and see how to weed out the quacks.”

Commission of the building

The Minister said the completion of the renovated building clearly demonstrated the Ministry’s commitment to strengthening the Allied Science profession in the country, and a major milestone in the evolution of the Allied health Profession Council.

He promised that the Ministry would continue with the development of the Allied Health Profession, so that they would be able to take their rightful place in the healthcare delivery system.

According to him, the government acknowledges health as the bedrock of the country, and for that matter, “I will always continue to support the health to meet its increased needs and demands.”

Nevertheless, the Council was charged to adopt a good maintenance culture to ensure that the facility is well maintained.

He commended management and staff, under the leadership of Dr Samuel Yaw Opoku, for working with the Ministry tirelessly to get the building renovated within a short period, calling on them to spread their tentacles to other parts of the country.

Prof Augustine Kweku kyere, Chairman of the Council, said the renovation of the building symbolised how far the Council had travelled from an obscure structure to this more accommodating edifice.

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