General News of Tuesday, 4 December 2018
According to the Director General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Anthony Nsiah-Asare, the use of drone technology to deliver emergency services fits perfectly into government’s plan of achieving access to Universal healthcare in the country.
Dr. Nsiah-Asare explained that the drones to be procured by Government at a cost of $12m will make Ghana the most “advanced healthcare supply chain in the world.”
The Minority has, however, rejected the services agreement between Government and Zipline, the company contracted to procure the drones describing it as a misplaced priority.
Briefing the press in Parliament, Dr Anthony Nsiah- Asare explained it is unfortunate that a critical matter of health is being politicized.
“I am surprised yesterday, I was watching the news and I wanted to call the Chairman of the parliamentary select committee on health. Health, so far as some of us are concerned, is not politics. You can sit here and politicise health, but when you are sick you don’t show your party colors. It is when you are in the village and you are bitten by a snake and then you will see what we are talking about.
“The drone is going to be 24 hours, that is day and night. it is going to be a 24-hour service, when you do only day and there is an emergency at night, what are you going to do ? “
Dr. Anthony Nsiah-Asare also disclosed that the drone delivery service will be run by the Ghana Health Service.
He also explained that the committee in charge of overseeing the initiative by Government is made of up not only health professionals, but officials from the Aviation sector, National Security and the Attorney’s General Dept.
“We have formed a committee at the instance of the Vice-President and the committee is not only made up of health professionals. We have officials from the Ministry of Health, Ghana Health Service, National Blood transfusion, Ghana Civil aviation authority, National Security and an official from the Attorney General’s Dept. Ghana has done due diligence. They have gone to see what the flight levels are. Where they fly and everything has been done already”
“The drone delivery network will be run by the Ghana Health Service on behalf of the health sector will give Ghana the most advanced health care supply chain on the planet”
Former Deputy Minister of Communications, Mr. Felix Kwakye Ofosu earlier on Tuesday on Citi TV‘s Breakfast Daily show, also described Government’s decision to procure the drones for hospitals as a misplaced priority and a needless venture.
According to him, there are more pressing issues in the health sector that Government needs to attend to, such as resourcing the ambulance service and tackling the issue of the ‘No-bed syndrome’ which was quite prevalent a few months ago.
Government had initially indicated at the 2018 Annual Health Summit held in April this year, that the delivery system will begin in September this year.
However, the Vice President at a forum organised by the Africa Centre for Economic Transformation (ACET) stated that the project will be expanded to cover the entire country in 2019.
The Vice President said government will use technology to make lives better for Ghanaians.
“By early 2019, we will be joining Rwanda in using drones to deliver critical medical products. Blood products, medical cargo, emergency vaccines, life saving and other essential medicines on demand to every part of the country regardless of the terrain or road infrastructure.” The Vice-President said.