Govt urged to remove taxes on free medical supplies

The President of Breast Care International has urged government to take off taxes on imported medical supplies offered for free distribution to disadvantaged health institutions and patients in the country. Dr Beatrice Wiafe-Addai says the huge taxes and high import duty discourages humanitarian aid organizations from sending medical equipment and consumables to the country. “Even though we donate the medical supplies we receive from our international partners to both private and government health institutions and poor but needy patients for free of charge to enhance quality healthcare delivery, we still have to pay huge amount of money at the port before being allowed to clear the consignments,” she said. “We are pleading with the government that, when the drugs and medical equipment arrive they should [allow] to clear without huge duty cost”. Dr. Wiafe-Addai was worried about the reduction of consignment clearance days at the port. “The days to clear the consignments have been reduced to 4 days including weekends and we have to pay additional GH¢6,000 daily for rent. “The Ministry of health promised to help but no positive response has come yet,” she said. She made the observations after Breast Care International presented hypertensive and diabetic drugs, infusions and autoclaves to eight public and private health institutions in the country. The medical equipment and consumables worth hundreds of thousands US dollars were donated by Direct Relief, a US-based humanitarian aid organization. The drugs are to be given to patients free of charge. The hypertension and diabetes drugs covered under the National Health Insurance Scheme are generic ones. The President of BCI warned beneficiary institutions not to sell the drugs to patients because they are not meant to be sold. Beneficiary institutions commended BCI for partnering with Direct Relief to alleviate the plight of poor but needy patients. They promised not to sell the drugs to any patient.

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By Ibrahim Abubakar||Ghana ]]>