President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has urged the local pharmaceutical industry to help the fight against the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) by producing more of the medical items needed to combat the pandemic in Ghana.
He said though the COVID-19 was a severe public health emergency and a major economic shock, it also presented Ghana with the opportunity to reduce her dependency on imports.
The President made the call when he met with leaders of indigenous pharmaceutical and banking sectors at the Jubilee House in Accra on Monday.
The meeting was called by the President to find and fashion short and long term strategies to wean Ghana off the overdependence on imported pharmaceutical products, as countries across the world battle with shortages of medical items to combat the Coronavirus disease.
President Akufo-Addo was not happy that Ghana relied more on foreign made goods, when the country possessed the capacity to manufacture most of those imports locally.
“We are not talking just pharmaceuticals. We are far too dependent on the things made abroad and imported by us for use,” he said.
“We should be making most of the things we use in Ghana ourselves, and I am seeing what is happening to us, in this crisis, as an opportunity. It has very big consequences, but it is also an opportunity. They say necessity is the mother of invention and advisedly so.”
In the case of the outbreak of the virus in the country, the President noted that if the situation got worse the country would have been presented with a serious challenge.
Thus, the local pharmaceutical companies need to up their game and produce the basic items such as nose masks, hand sanitizers and disposable gloves needed to stem the spread of the Coronavirus.
President Akufo-Addo was optimistic that a close collaboration between bankers, pharmaceutical giants, and regulators of the industry would address the deficiencies in a “systematic and pragmatic manner.”
He urged the Governor of the Central Bank, who was at the meeting, to develop a system where pharmaceutical companies could be supported financially to enable them to manufacture what Ghana’s health systems demands.
The President said it was time the country lived of its own ingenuity to build a viable nation.
“If we want to be a properly functioning country, we cannot continue to live of other people’s ingenuity and hard work. We have to live of our own ingenuity, creativity, and hard work. That is the only way we can build a viable nation.”
Mr Kofi Nsiah Poku, the President of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association of Ghana, later told Jubilee House correspondents that pharmaceutical producers were working round the clock to ensure essential supplies were available to battle the virus.
He said the Association had asked manufacturers to put aside their normal production schedules and bring up products that would be used to support the fight against the Covid-19.