Emergency health care service in the country is to receive a major boost from tomorrow as all is set for the commissioning and distribution of the much awaited 307 ambulances by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
Accompanying the ambulances to the regions for onward distribution to the 275 constituencies nationwide, are more than 300 emergency medical technician (EMT) drivers and support staff and 30 dispatchers.
The Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah told journalists at a briefing in Accra yesterday, that all preparations needed to be done, which delayed the release of the vehicles for some weeks, had been completed.
They included training of paramedics on the ambulance and medical equipment aboard, fitting of tracking devices, of which the manufacturers through the suppliers were required to provide.
Aside the ambulances, he said clearance had been given for 575 EMTs to be recruited out of which 450 had been recruited, saying “the initial deployments of EMT staff are drawn from this and previous staff (while) an additional 900 staff has received clearance to be recruited”.
The ambulances, which have courted much controversy due to its delay, were procured under the government’s Infrastructure for Poverty Eradication Programme (IPEP) currently being implemented by the Ministry of Special Development Initiatives.
According to Mr Oppong-Nkrumah, since the establishment of the National Ambulance Service (NAS) in 2004 with some 10 ambulances and seven stations, emergency health care had in recent years ground to a halt as the service was left with some 55 ambulances functioning currently and a handful of EMTs.
“In line with pre-election commitments to improve healthcare delivery, the Akufo-Addo administration has invested in this boost and expects it to augment other efforts at improving health delivery in Ghana,” he said.
He said the government expected the NAS to maintain the ambulances, saying “It is further expected that this injection will be put to good use to serve the good people of Ghana and add to ongoing efforts to secure livelihoods.”
“We encourage all to take note that the budgetary allocation of 1million USD per constituency is what is being used to fund this fleet, an indication that in addition to the other initiatives of the MSDI ministry, that IPEP programme is yielding results,” the Minister said.
On the issue of maintenance, the Deputy Director, Operations of NAS, Mr Foster Ansong-Bridjan said the Ministry of Special Initiatives had a five-year service and maintenance agreement with the suppliers which would ensure that the vehicles were in good shape within the period.
Asked about the fleet of ambulances procured by the previous administration, he said the Ministry of Health was handling that issue.
BY JONATHAN DONKOR