Alex Segbefia inspecting the guard of honour before the commencement of the ceremony
About 200 new ambulances will be added to the fleet of the National Ambulance Service (NAS), Minister of Health Alex Segbefia has stated.
Already, there are 30 such ambulances decaying at the forecourt of the State House, where they have since been parked since their importation.
The Volkswagen-branded ambulances have no accessories to make them operational, leaving them at the mercy of the weather.
According to him, government is in the process of getting the ambulances into the country to augment the operations of NAS.
Speaking at the closing ceremony of a two-week training programme for senior and management staff of the NAS, Mr Segbefia said plans were also underway to expand NAS to cover all district capitals not benefiting from the services of the NAS.
“This is to assist the NAS to build a robust EMS system for Ghana and help save lives,” he said.
Government intervention follows media reports on the procurement of 30 substandard ambulances and the abandoning of 40 out of the 130 ambulances procured for NAS in 2010 at a workshop.
The situation has compelled the management of NAS to keep old ambulances that have outlived their usefulness on the road, constraining the effectiveness of the service.
Mr Segbefia assured NAS that government is ready to provide NAS with the necessary logistics and financial support to enable it to provide effective pre-hospital care for patients.
“There is nothing worse than feeling helpless while waiting for help to arrive. A commitment of just a few hours could be the difference in life or death situations,” he mentioned.
The minister further urged participants to make good use of the skills they had gained through the Emergency and Medical Services (EMS) operations management training to promote pre-healthcare delivery.
The programme which was on Emergency and Medical Services (EMS) operations management was in collaboration with North Dakota Department of Health, USA.
Chief Executive Officer of NAS, Prof Ahmed N. Zakariah, said the two-week programme which was aimed at sharing ideas in ambulance operations, especially in the field of dispatch, allowed patients to receive immediate care during an emergency before accessing the nearest healthcare centre.
He said there are currently 130 emergency medical technicians (EMTs) across the country, with Mr Mohammed Abdul-Rahman receiving sponsorship to pursue a paramedic course from North Dakota to become the first NAS paramedic in Ghana.
Dr Jeffery Sather, head of the North Dakota team, urged stakeholders to collaborate with hospitals and health centres to better improve the health system in the country.
By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri