Ambulances should be manned only by NAS – Minister cautions MMDAs

Eunice Hilda Ampomah, GNA

Accra, Jan. 28, GNA
– Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, the Minister of Health on Tuesday cautioned Ministers,
Members of Parliament and the Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies
not to interfere in the management of the 307 ambulances deployed to the

Rather, he tasked
them, to collaborate with the National Ambulance Service (NAS) who are
authorised to manage the ambulances by helping it to secure suitable places in
every constituency for it to operate from.

The Health Minister
stated during the commissioning of the Ambulances by President Nana Addo Dankwa
Akufo-Addo in Accra.

The President has
now given approval for the distribution of the ambulances procured under the
government’s “One Constituency, One Ambulance” project.

Mr Agyeman-Manu said
government wanted the Ambulance Service to work independently in administering
its duties with the new ambulances without receiving external pressures from
any persons in authority.

He said some constituencies
had met the basic requirements of providing offices and residential
accommodation for the NAS to pave way for easy operationalisation of the
ambulances, however, others were behind in terms of their preparedness to
receive the ambulances.

Only qualified and
experienced medical technicians and drivers, he said, are authorised to drive
and operate the ambulances.

The Minister gave an
assurance that all efforts were going to be made to support the NAS to improve
on the quality of pre-hospital emergency care services.

“We are not just
providing ambulances but building a holistic emergency response system. It is
in this regard that a unitary emergency number for all emergencies, thus ‘112’
will be launched by the President later,” he disclosed.

Mr Agyeman-Manu
noted that as people’s lives depended on the quick reaction and competent care
of emergency of medical technicians and paramedics, incidences like automobile
accidents, heart attacks, slips and falls, child birth and gunshot wounds
required immediate medical attention.

The Ministry of
Special Development Initiatives, spearheaded the procurement of the ambulances
under the “Infrastructure for Poverty Eradication Programme”.

Madam Mavis Hawa
Koomson, the Sector Minister said the project was funded through the “One
Million Dollars per Constituency” initiative.

She urged the
National Ambulance Service to utilise the ambulances well and maintain them
properly to prolong their usefulness to the populace.

Professor Ahmed Nuhu
Zakariah, the Chief Executive Officer of the National Ambulance Service,
speaking about the history of Ambulance Stations, said the NAS started with a
pilot phase of seven stations in three regions from 2004 to 2005.

In 2006, it moved
into full scale operations with additional 12 stations increasing the number to
19 stations in five regions.

The National
Ambulance Service, he said, was going to add 145 new stations to the existing
132 stations this year.

Prof. Zakariah said
the 307 ambulances had been equipped with state-of-the-art support devices to
facilitate a quick and comfortable transfer of patients.

The devices include
stretchers, first aid kits, oxygen cylinders, spinal immobilization devices,
portable ventilators, adults and foetal monitors, and automated external

Prof. Zakariah noted
that tracking devices had been installed in the ambulances to track their

He advised
individuals in emergency situations to call the ‘112’ emergency line or send
alert on the Ghana Post GPS App for a reliable accessibility of service and