On Tuesday, January 13th, the central medical store in Ghana caught fire, destroying thousands of medical supplies. The central medical store is located in Tema, Ghana, near the capital of Accra, and serves as the primary storage facility for many drugs and medical supplies for Ghana Health Services (GHS). The fire started between 9 and 10am that morning and was fought by several firefighters soon after. Members of staff were reportedly running back and forth from the blaze in an attempt to save documents and other supplies.
The Director General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr Ebenezer Appiah Denkyira, called the fire a "disaster" and stated that it will have a significant effect on the drug supply in Ghana. As the primary storage site for Ghana Health Services' consumable supplies, the fire at the central medical store means that the country will likely have shortages of drugs. GHS may attempt to purchase some of the drugs and equipment locally, and a smaller supply of drugs have previously been distributed to the different regions throughout Ghana. In addition to the consumable supplies such as malarial drugs, many pieces of medical equipment, such as hospital beds, were also destroyed. Its currently estimated that the fire damaged over GH¢273 million of supplies.
Four Ministry of Health and Ghana Health Service officials have been fired while the Ghana National Fire Service and the Bureau for National Investigations determine the cause of the fire. This fire is truly devastating for the country of Ghana, having destroyed so many drugs and valuable medical equipment. We sincerely hope the cause of the fire is discovered soon and that an alternative means of securing these much needed medicine and supplies can be identified.