The Ministry of Health is pleading for the postponement of the commissioning of the ambulances that have been parked at the State House in Accra.
In a letter to the President, sector Minister, Kwaku Agyemang-Manu claims that he is ‘adding his voice’ to the demands by the National Ambulance Service for the distribution of the ambulances to the various constituencies to be put on hold.
“I forward to you a letter from the management of the National Ambulance Service making a request for the postponement of the Commissioning of the new ambulances. Having engaged them and listened to the reasons for the request for the postponement, I would like to add my voice for their request to be granted”, parts of the letter from the Health Minister to the President read.
For the National Ambulance Service, its appeal to have the commissioning halted from the scheduled January 6, 2020 date is to critically assess and conclude technical issues regarding the deployment of the ambulances for effective and efficient emergency response.
It has therefore suggested January 28, 2020, be considered as the new date for the commissioning.
“This request has become very necessary due to the fact that the following important technical issues need to be completely addressed before the ambulances can be commissioned and dispatched to the various constituencies to ensure efficient and effective responses suffered some delay due to unforeseen circumstances.”
In its five-point explanation, the Service argued that issues such as the training of staff and paramedics on the usage of the ambulances and medical equipment as well as an improved state of the art digitized ICT dispatch system needed to be addressed.
The other concerns it raised were the installation of tracking devices, establishing service centers and the need for the labeling of the ambulances to be.
“Since all the above issues are being addressed before the commissioning of the ambulances to ensure an efficient and effective emergency response, we strongly recommend that the commissioning is postponed to the 28th of January 2020 by which all these issues would have been resolved.”
Advancing more arguments the installation of the tracking devices and establishment of the service centers to maintain the ambulances according to the ambulance service is expected to be completed in the third week of January while the ongoing labeling of the ambulances will be completed in two weeks time.
“As part of the procurement of the 307 ambulances, the manufacturers through the suppliers are supposed to provide user training for the ambulances, and medical equipment onboard. However, this training could not take [place as scheduled by manufacturers because they could not travel to the country before the end of the year due to their holiday season. The new dates scheduled for the training are in the weeks of the 13 and 20th of January 2020. This training shall comprise the paramedics being trained on the usage of the different types of equipment in the ambulances while drivers are being trained on the operations of new ambulances including while drivers are being trained on the operations of the new ambulances including how the dispatch and tracking systems work. It is vital to provide adequate training to staff before handing over the ambulances”, the letter added.
Parked ambulances saga
The first batch of ambulances arrived in September 2019 for all 275 constituencies in the country in fulfillment of a promise made by President Nana Akufo-Addo and the NPP Government in the build-up to the 2016 general elections.
As a promise to revamp the ailing National Ambulance Service, however, 96 out of the 275 ambulances are currently parked at the State House awaiting distribution.
Following the outburst over the government’s delay in distributing the ambulances, the government and its agencies such as the Ministry of Special Development initiative have been providing a number of reasons for the current turn of events.
Pressure group OccupyGhana had described the delay in distributing the ambulances as “gross irresponsibility”.
The Minority in Parliament also accused the government of insensitivity in refusing to distribute the ambulances.