Painstaking investigations conducted by the DAILY HERITAGE have revealed that Ghana is likely to suffer from any emergency situation which may require the proactive services of the National Ambulance Service (NAS) due to limited vehicles and resources in the country.
Currently, the service can boast of only 84 active vehicles out of 124 for metropolitan, municipal, regional and district hospitals throughout the country manning a population of over 25 million which beats the World Health Organization (WHO) standard.
The situation has come about due to frequent break down of the vehicles because of the bad nature of the road network in the country and sometimes misuse by their handlers (drivers).
According to WHO standards, one ambulance is to service at least 25,000 people plus a back-up, but per the situation in Ghana, one ambulance is equal to one million Ghanaians.
Another intriguing revelation uncovered by the paper showed that there are over 40 broken down vehicles rotting at the premises of Universal Motors at North Industrial Area, the company responsible for after-sales services.
The paper’s investigation also uncovered that out of the 84 vehicles in operation; almost 80% of them are centered in the national capital and the nine regional capitals while the remaining 20% are shared among the 216 districts.
Currently, due to limited ambulance services in the country citizens are compelled to devise all means of transporting pregnant women who are due for labor, patients and emergency cases to hospitals which often result in their deaths.
Speaking in an interview with the DAILY HERITAGE, the Director of National Ambulance Service, Prof. Ahmed Zackariah said it has been a great challenge to the service to manage and work with the meager resources available, but even with that, the service has improved from a humble beginning of seven vehicles and 57 staff members to 1,306 staff with 124 vehicles.
Prof. Zackariah said the major challenge that has bedeviled the service is the rampant break down of the vehicles due to bad road network and related issues.
On the issue of the drivers not being abreast with modern technology of the ambulance vehicles, he stated that it is unfair on the part of the drivers because the drivers undergo serious training from the Motor Traffic and Transport Department of the Ghana Police Service.
He said before one qualifies to be an ambulance driver, one must at least have license C and in addition one will undergo intensive training at Mankranso in the Ashanti region for six months as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMTs) or paramedic where a certificate is issued subject to renewal.
“Despite all these challenges, the service is up to the task to make sure that Ghanaians enjoy the best of premedical care from NAS,” he stated.
The director, therefore, called on all Ghanaians to report EMTs to officials who are bent on collecting money from patients before transporting them, adding that all emergency services are free, while non-emergency services require fueling of vehicles by patients and not charging specific amounts or taking risk allowances.
“Those who do that are fraudsters and will be punished if they are reported to the appropriate authorities,” he opined.
The Public Relations Officer of NAS, Simmons Yussif Kawura also appealed to all individuals, corporate institutions such as banks, oil companies, footballers and all-and-sundry to volunteer an ambulance to support the good cause of NAS.
Source: Daily Heritage
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