When Joana Opoku-Darko’s daughter Anna was 18 months old, she came down with malaria, a disease common in Ghana and especially deadly for children.
She bought medication from a pharmacy in Ghana’s capital, Accra; when Anna’s fever didn’t subside she took her to a hospital, where they ran some tests.
“I was anxious, as a first-time mother. I didn’t have the experience to tell whether it’s going to get any better, or am I going to lose my child?” she says.
“They told me the medicine was no good, and we needed to start treatment all over.”
Opoku-Darko had bought fake malaria treatment drugs. Had she not gone to the hospital, Anna could have become another sorry statistic in a country flooded with substandard medicines.
The experience has Opoku-Darko worried about the pandemic, especially as experts warn issues of falsified drugs, already very deadly in Africa, will become even greater under Covid-19.
The current focus on curbing Covid-19 spread means there is less focus on routine market surveillance Delese Mimi Darko, chief executive of Ghana’s Food and Drug Authority