GHS backs govt, Zipline agreement

Dr Anthony Nsiah Asare,Director-General,GHS

Dr Anthony Nsiah Asare,Director-General,GHS

THE Ghana Health Service (GHS) has defended government’s decision to engage the services of Zipline Ghana Limited to use drones in the delivery of essential drugs and blood to enhance health delivery in the country, dismissing the Minority’s claim that the deal was fraught with corruption.


The vote on the deal in Parliament was deferred on Monday after the Minority had raised the red flag over the amount involved and the lack of regulatory approval for the agreement to go through, though the Majority had parried away the allegations.


But the Director General of the GHS), Dr Nsiah Asare, at a press conference in Accra yesterday, said using drones would make it easy to access hard-to-reach areas of the country.


According to Dr Nsiah Asare, the use of the drones would make the delivery of blood products, anti-snake and children vaccines to more than 5,000 Community-based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) Compounds and health centres across the country.


With this technology and the timely delivery of such drugs, Dr Nsiah Asare said, avoidable deaths of women from bleeding at birth and people bitten by snakes would be prevented.


Per the agreement, seen by the Ghanaian Times, the Ministry of Health bears no risk for installation, operation and maintenance.


The Health Ministry, the agreement said in part that, only pays when Zipline succeeds in setting up four distribution centres and meets the performance specifications agreed to.


To run for four years, Zipline stands to pocket US$88,000 monthly per a distribution centre when fully deployed, a figure the Minority has disputed and pegged at US$145,000.


The cost, to be borne by telecommunication giant MTN, Tullow Oil and the Ghana National Petroleum Commission, Zipline guarantees average emergency delivery time of less than an hour and at least 150 flights daily and expected to carry a weight of between 1.5 two kilogrammes to remote areas.


Making reference to Eastern African country, Rwanda, which uses the technology to distribute essential medicines to remote areas, Dr Nsiah said Ghana had no excuse to be left behind but to take advantage of the technology to improve health care delivery in the country.


Ghana’s drones under the Zipline agreement, compared to Rwanda, Dr Nsiah Asare said would be larger to ensure efficiency in health care delivery in Ghana.


The use of drones in the delivery of essential drugs, the GHS boss said was in line with the vision of the Service to capitalise on the use of technology to facilitate health care delivery.


The first distribution service centre, he said, would be at Suhum with the venues for the remaining three yet to be determined calling on the Minority to support the initiative.



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