About 50 Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) drawn from all 16 regions yesterday started receiving training on how to effectively operate the newly procured ambulances scheduled for commissioning on January 28.
Organised by the National Ambulance Service (NAS) with trainers from EMSA Ambulance, manufacturer of the vehicles, the training, is part of the Turkish company’s requisite process before their use.
Phase one of the training done yesterday involved capacity building of participants, including supervisors, regional administrators and other paramedics, on digital equipments aboard the ambulances.
The equipment aboard include oxygen systems, infusion pumps, control panels and other digital medical devices. The second phase scheduled for next week would involve the operation of the vehicles.
The 307 ambulances were procured through the One-Constituency-One Ambulance project under the Infrastructure For Poverty Eradication Programme (IPEP) to revamp the country’ inadequate fleet.
The training of EMTs was one of five reasons cited by the NAS in its request for the president to postpone the commissioning of the 307 vehicles from January 7, this year.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, the Minister of Special Development Initiatives, Mavis Hawa Koomson said all outstanding issues including the instalment of tracking devices and labelling were ongoing.
She said the last batch of 48 ambulances were expected to arrive next week, assuring that all that was needed to ensure the country derived maximum benefit from the vehicles would be done.
According to her, the ambulances would help address challenges related to high mortality rates as a result of road traffic accidents, delay in access to maternal care and other emergencies.
“The NAS currently operates 133 stations all over the country with only 50 functional ambulances at any point in time as their fleet are all over-aged. Certainly for a population of 30 million people, these vehicles are inadequate” the minister said.
The Deputy Minister of Health, Tina Gifty Mensah said the procurement of the ambulances showed the government’s commitment to save lives as the vehicles would improve emergency response system.
She said the training was not a duplication of what the personnel received at the Paramedics and Emergency Care Training School but an addition to ensure they provided efficient services.
For his part, the International Regional Sales Manager of EMSA Ambulance, Irfan Gider said the vehicles were manufactured with the European standards and assured Ghanaians of the best quality.
He said the training was a crucial part of its project as it would show operators how to use the ambulance’s functions for the safety of both crew and patients.
The Chief Executive Officer of the NAS, Professor Ahmed Nuhu Zakariah urged Ghanaians to exercise retrain as the service would not be stampeded to skip safety and important processes.
BY JONATHAN DONKOR