Pressure Group, Occupy Ghana has expressed its disappointment over the government’s delay in distributing ambulances parked in front of the State House.
96 out of the 275 ambulances are currently parked at the State House awaiting distribution.
The group, in a statement, wondered why the ambulances were left idling in the wake of concerns over a shortage in the number of working ambulances in the country.
It said although it was impressed with the government’s decision to procure the ambulances, the delay in distribution is disappointing.
“Like most Ghanaians, OG wonders why in light of the fact that the country has so few working ambulances, these new ambulances would be left idling before the State House instead of being out in the constituencies being used to save lives.
“We did applaud the government for its response in making these ambulances available in the first place, but we equally express our disappointment that the ambulances since arrival have been inactive. Thus we ask these questions because these ambulances just sitting there while people are dying is a mark of gross irresponsibility and paints a vivid picture of lack of completeness in the thinking that went behind acquiring the ambulances in the first place.”
Occupy Ghana also asked the government to provide answers to the questions below;
– Are there plans afoot to set up a central command center or is the national Ambulance Service going to be the de facto Command Center?
– Are these receiving points going to be command centers or just places where the ambulances are housed?
– Is there a bed management in place to allow the ambulance drivers to take patients to facilities that have available beds?
– Will the ambulances be equipped with suitable mapping technology to help them find patients?
– What plans have been made for constituencies with no hospitals? Where will their emergency cases go?
Release parked ambulances in 3 days
Occupy Ghana’s concerns follow calls by the Minority side on Parliament’s Health Committee for the immediate release of the ambulances at the State House.
Addressing the media in Parliament, Ranking Member on the Committee, Kwabena Mintah Akandoh said it is wrong for the ambulances to be parked for months when they are needed in communities to help save lives.
“From the time these ambulances were parked till 2020, do you know the number of people who would die because they could not get access to ambulances? I do not know whether they do not understand emergency purposes…We are calling on the President to immediately distribute the ambulances available so they can serve their purpose.”
“If you park the ambulances as we have done, I think we are doing a disservice to the country. The only time the taxpayer will get the full use and benefit from this investment is when these ambulances are in use and therefore I think we are even being charitable. We are giving the President a maximum of three days to distribute the ambulances,” he said.
The Special Development Ministry subsequently said the ambulances will be released in January 2020.
‘First batch of 275 ambulances in Ghana’
In September 2019, President Nana Akufo-Addo announced the arrival of the first batch ambulances for all 275 constituencies in the country.
The arrival of the ambulances forms part of the fulfillment of a promise made by President Nana Akufo-Addo and the NPP Government in the build-up to the 2016 general elections.
Only 55 functioning ambulances
Ghana is faced with a major health crisis that jeopardizes the lives of millions of its citizens.
The country of 29 million people only had only 55 functioning ambulances serving all ten regions as of 2018.
There was a huge public outcry coupled with what became known as the ‘no-bed syndrome’ a situation when citizens turned away from the hospital over claims that there were no beds in the hospital.
The statistics indicate that 1 ambulance is shared by over 520,000 Ghanaians.
That ratio is well above the appropriate ratios of between 1:50,000 to 1:100,000 as suggested by experts.
It is worsened by the growing burden of acute diseases in the country and rising cases of motor accidents.
55 working Ambulances not up to standard
Dr. Yakubu Akparibo, who is Ghana’s first and only Aerospace Medicine Specialist said the death of a patient in an ambulance due to the lack of oxygen indicates that the supposed functioning ambulances are substandard.
The health professional has called into question the quality of Ghana’s 55 functioning ambulances which serve the entire 29 million population.
He made the comment on the back of a report on the death of a pregnant woman and her baby due to the lack of oxygen in an ambulance.