Some residents of Tamale and parts of the Northern region who patronise the services of chemical sellers may be doing so at their own risk as some of the chemical shops are operating without authorization.
The Northern regional capital is said to be choked with chemical shops, with some of them rendering services they are not mandated by law to do.
The Pharmacy Council has closed down some chemical shops for operating without license, selling unapproved drugs, admitting patients among other infractions.
The Northern regional Manager of the Pharmacy Council, Michael Anim Ameyaw said owners of the chemical shops which were closed down either used the back of their shops or rented single rooms close to their shops and rendered medical services to people against the law.
“In the course of our duty we came across a few shops that the office did not authorize them to open. Some were operating in areas where they are not supposed to and others were doing things that they’ve not been licensed to do such as admitting patients, giving injection, we even met people on live infusions. Some are even accused of doing abortions in or behind their shops,” he disclosed.
A chemical seller who spoke to radiotamale.com off record and on condition of anonymity admitted to these infractions, but said they risk collapsing their businesses if they operate strictly by the regulations of the Pharmacy Council. He admitted he does abortion and render other services reserved for trained medical practitioners.
“You see abortion? There is no drug store in Tamale that does not sell drugs for abortion but you have to do it secretly. We are just helping people out because if they go to a doctor, they cannot afford the cost of abortion. Me for instance, there is no way I will help a woman to do abortion if the pregnancy goes beyond three months. My range is one to three months so if a woman comes to me and says she is three months pregnant then I know she is four months pregnant so I will send her away,” he said.
In Tamale and other communities in the Northern region, it is not uncommon to see drug peddlers with chop boxes tied at the back of their bicycles or motorbikes selling drugs to unsuspecting customers.
In Nyankpala and some rural communities, drugs are displayed on tables during market days, under the scorching sun and sold to people who patronise them without the slightest idea the harm they are causing to themselves.
Mr Ameyaw said the council is stepping up efforts to deal with the problem once and for all. He however mentioned interference from people in authority including politicians and traditional leaders as a major hurdle to dealing with perpetrators of the act.
He therefore appealed chiefs, politicians and opinion leaders in the region to give the council the needed support to rid the metropolis of illegal chemical sellers.
“I will make a passionate appeal. It is not easy dealing with the individuals themselves. There are instances where some of our staff have been attacked. Dealing with the people is not easy so we don’t expect our opinion leaders to make things worse for us. So I will just appeal to our chiefs especially that when somebody commits an offence, at least the law must be made to work,” he pleaded.
He also advised the general public to go to the hospital for treatment when they are not well rather than resort to chemical shops.
By: Yahaya Masahudu, firstname.lastname@example.org