GPHF has donated the 500th minilab to the Ministry of Health in Ghana
The Global Pharma Health Fund (GPHF) has donated a compact mobile laboratory for identifying counterfeit medicines to the Ministry of Health in Ghana. It was the 500th lab that the GPHF, a charitable initiative financed by Merck, has provided to public and private health services in developing countries since 1998.
Mr. Rojo Mettle-Nunoo, Deputy Minister of Health who received the donation, thanked the donors for their gesture, saying it came in handy at a time when the Food and Drugs Board (FDB) has committed itself to the elimination of counterfeit and sub-standard medicines. He said the facility will be handed over to the FDB to complement their operations throughout the country, adding: “The FDB already has five mobile lab facilities and this will make it six to make their work more efficient.”
Frank Gotthardt, Chairman of the GPHF and Head of Public Affairs at Merck, explained the advantage of the two suitcase-size lab units: “Many counterfeit medicines have no therapeutic benefit or sometimes even contain harmful substances. The GPHF Minilabs are globally unique for their ability to detect such counterfeits quickly, cost-effectively and reliably.”
Present at the function were Dr. Stephen K. Opuni, Chief Executive of the Food and Drugs Board, the agency charged with ensuring the quality of drugs; Sylvester A. Mensah, Chief Executive of the National Health Insurance Authority; and Ghanaian-born professional soccer player Gerald Asamoah.
Gerald Asamoah – who played as a member of the German national soccer team in 43 matches and has to date played in more than 300 matches in the German Bundesliga — set up the Gerald Asamoah Foundation for Children with Heart Conditions in 2007. This foundation supports German and international aid projects and has long-term plans to build a ward in Accra for children with heart conditions.
Asamoah was impressed by the Minilabs’ flexibility and said: “I’m amazed at how quickly and easily counterfeit medicines can be detected anywhere in the world using the analytical methods of the Minilab.” Asamoah was particularly pleased when Karim Bendhaou, Managing Director of Merck North West Africa, promised him an ultrasonic measuring device for the pediatric ward of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra, and said “This device will be a blessing for many children.”
Frank Gotthardt, Chairman of the GPHF and Head of Public Affairs at Merck, presented the 500th minilab to the Honorable Deputy Minister of Health Mr. Rojo Mettle Nunoo, left, in presence of the famous football player Gerald Asamoah.