A National Ambulance Service Bill which will identify funding sources for the National Ambulance Service (NAS) is currently before Cabinet and would soon be forwarded to Parliament for consideration and enactment, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has announced.
He said the bill, when passed, would ensure that government’s plan of providing a digitised state-of-the-art ambulance dispatch management system integrated with the national digital addressing system was fully realised and sustained.
The President was speaking at the Black Stars Square in Accra yesterday when he commissioned 307 ambulances for distribution to all 275 constituencies and emergency response centres across the country.
The provision of new ambulances forms part of the government’s commitment to retool the NAS to enhance its response to emergency situations.
According to President Akufo-Addo, the integrated ambulance management system would ensure that all calls to the ambulance service would be routed through a computer system which would automatically generate the digital address location of the caller to enable the control centre determine the nearest ambulance to dispatch.
He added that the system would also enable the ambulance service determine which health facility would be suitable for the emergency.
“This system will also allow the ambulance when dispatched navigate without difficulty using the dispatch system in the ambulance straight to the caller,” he said.
Until yesterday’s delivery, the NAS had only 55 ambulances serving the whole country, that is, approximately one ambulance serving 524,000 people.
President Akufo-Addo, said the government would, in the course of the year, create 145 new ambulance stations to serve all 275 constituencies.
That, he said, would mean that every single ambulance would have one ambulance station.
“We promised in the 2016 NPP manifesto to strengthen the NAS and we are doing just that,” he said and expressed the government’s commitment to ensure the realisation of an effective emergency medical service system.
Despite augmenting the fleet of the ambulance service, the President said he was aware of the challenges confronting the service, including inadequate staff, non-existent dispatch system, lack of a dedicated source of funding, inadequate paramedics, among others.
He said the government was working to address the challenges, indicating that financial clearance had been given for the recruitment of 1,477 emergency medical technicians and, out of the number, 577 had already been recruited, with the process for recruiting the remaining 900 underway.
BY YAW KYEI