The National Ambulance Service (NAS) says the new ambulances procured by government to revamp the country’s ailing emergency service are of standard and suitable for the country’s terrain.
Head of Public Relations, Mr Simmons Yussif Kewura in an interview with the Ghanaian Times said, “we have been involved in the procurement process from the onset, they came for certification from us, we have met with the manufacturers and have been monitoring to ensure we get the right ambulances.”
“So I can assure you that these ambulances are fit for purpose and we are ready to work with them once we take delivery,” he stated.
Mr Kewura was reacting to the arrival of the first batch of 48 new ambulances out of 300 into the country last Thursday, to improve Ghana’s emergency healthcare delivery.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo at the induction of newly qualified medical doctors and dentists in Accra on Friday also announced that government will take delivery of the second batch of the ambulances by first week in October, this year.
The ambulances are under government’s “One million per constituency” policy which seeks to improve basic infrastructure at the constituency level.
Expressing relieve that the ambulances had begun trickling into the country, Mr Kewura could however not determine when the service will take delivery of the vehicles for use.
“We do not know when we will take delivery of them. We understand they are coming in batches so the first is in, the second will be arriving in 40 days so I do not know when it will be handed over to us, but if government says because of the inadequate ambulances we have now, they will give them to us as they come in, we will be happy to work with them.
“As at now, we have 55 weak ambulances nationwide which are over stressed and some in poor conditions and have to be serviced time and again, which means that at a point in time less than the number given can perform emergency services,” he stated.
The PRO appealed to the various Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to set up ambulance stations in their jurisdictions to get emergency services running once the vehicles are distributed.
“We have written to the various assemblies through the Local Government Ministry to get designated places for the ambulance service including accommodation and offices for our staff so that they are not stranded when the distribution begins,” he noted.
Meanwhile, Kabore Awudu Moro, PRO of the Ministry of Special Development Initiatives (MSDI) told the Ghanaian Times that the 48 ambulances in the country are undergoing clearing processes at the port after which they will be handed over to the Health Ministry and its agencies.
Confirming that 90 more ambulances will be in by October, he fell short of giving specific timelines as to when clearing processes will be done for onward distribution, as a decision was yet to be taken on whether the ministry would take the entire fleet before handing over or hand each batch over as and when they are cleared.
Mr Moro who apologised for the delay with the coming in of the ambulances, assured that before the end of the year, the entire 300 ambulances would be in the country to augment healthcare delivery.
Ghana currently has 55 ambulances serving the 29 million populations across all regions. Many of the 130 ambulance service stations in the country work without a functioning ambulance.
Per available statistics, the Greater Accra Region has the largest allocation of the resource with nine ambulances, while the Central Region has the least number of two as data shows one ambulance is shared by over 520,000 Ghanaians.
BY ABIGAIL ANNOH