The Ranking Member on Parliament’s Health Committee, Kwabena Mintah Akandoh, is demanding a full-scale parliamentary probe into the circumstances that led to the death of a pregnant woman, allegedly due to the cost associated with the use of a public ambulance.
The deceased, Augustina Awortwe, lost her life earlier this month allegedly due to a delay in the movement of the ambulance to Accra after doctors referred her from the Holy Child Clinic at Fijai in Takoradi, to the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital.
According to the family of the deceased, the delay was occasioned by their inability to readily come up with a sum of GH¢600 to cover the cost of fuel for the ambulance.
Speaking to the media after a visit to the family and the Holy Child Clinic, Kwabena Mintah Akandoh also called for the immediate interdiction of all officials involved in the incident.
“I don’t want to pre-empt any investigation, but it is not the best. I don’t think that anybody deserves to lose their lives when they are going to give birth. The story is bizarre, and so we have to get back into Parliament and commence a probe of the whole issue. They are not supposed to pay anything [to ambulance drivers] so if as a country we want to make ambulance cash and carry, we should say so, so that before anybody calls the ambulance service, he or she knows that you must pay for the services of the ambulance.”
“I assured the husband and the family that we will pursue this matter to its logical conclusion. We’ve spoken to the husband and the facility that did the referral and there are more questions. [I think] The ambulance driver and crew could be interdicted pending investigation.”
Meanwhile, the husband of the deceased, John Obiri Yeboah, says he is devastated by the turn of events.
“I gave GH¢50 demanded of me to the ambulance driver to buy fuel, and after they bought the fuel, one of the officials told me we had to return to Fijai. When we got to Fijai there was an altercation between the officials and the hospital and all along my wife was helpless in the hospital. It was while we stood at the Cape Coast hospital entrance that one of the men came to tell me I have lost my wife. When I checked the time they said she died, it was the same time one of the officials told the driver to go and stake lotto. Later they told me the ambulance is not used to convey dead bodies,” he said.