Notwithstanding pressure from the Minority in Parliament and civil society, especially pressure group, OccupyGhana, for some ambulances procured by government to be distributed immediately across the country to save lives - the Minister for Special Development Initiative, under whose purview the distribution lies, is adamant that it will be done next year.
To Hon Mavis Hawa Koomson, the assertion that failure to deliver the ambulances to the constituencies could increase the deaths of unfortunate Ghanaians, is neither here nor there, since “people started dying a long time ago.”
She was speaking in an interview with Neat FM.
55 Ambulances for 29 million Ghanaians
The state of Ghana’s ambulance service has been described by many in the health sector as critical. A country of about 29 million people only has 55 functioning ambulances serving all 10 regions.
Ghana currently has 155 ambulances, 100 of which have broken down due to various faults, many of them engine-related.
The National Headquarters of the Ambulance Service in Accra has only four ambulances.
Lack Of Ambulances Causing Daily Deaths - Minority
It is for this reason that perhaps the Minority held a press conference last week, asking for the immediate distribution of some 48 ambulances parked at the forecourt of Parliament.
96 out of the 275 ambulances purchased under Government's One Constituency One Ambulance initiative, are currently parked at the State House awaiting distribution.
The group alleged that countless number of people are dying as a result of lack of emergency health-care delivery systems.
"The decision to install trackers and other equipment into those ambulances do not hold . . . Ghanaians are dying on a daily basis due to the lack of ambulances across the country why should we keep them to rot when they need it to work.
" . . We have written to government to instruct the sector Minister to distribute the ambulances," the Minority said.
We Won't Be Spectators To Parked Ambulances
Pressure group, OccupyGhana, also waded in the fray wondering why the ambulances were left idling in the wake of concerns over a shortage in the number of working ambulances in the country.
"It is enshrined in the Constitution, Article 34(2) that the citizenry has a Right to Good Health Care. How does parking the buses in front of the State House ensure that?
"We rallied behind the President to his clarion call to be citizens. We will not settle to be spectators, especially to parked ambulances. Accordingly, we demand answers and no excuse but prompt and immediate action," the pressure group said in a statement issued over the weekend.
But the Minister for Special Development Initiative appears unmoved by these remarks, saying her outfit will ensure that what needs to be done first is done before the ambulances are distributed.
Listen to the interview below…
'People Dying Is Nothing New'
Mavis Hawa Koomson, who was speaking in an interview with Mac-Jerry Osei Agyeman on NEAT FM’s morning show ‘Ghana Montie’, Friday, November 15, 2019, said "the deaths of Ghanaians was a worrying situation hence the decision by the President to procure these ambulances, especially for remote areas. We [NPP] acquired the ambulances to serve the people and will not shirk that responsibility.”
She however bluntly told the host of the show that procedures would have to be followed before the distribution can be done, and sarcastically quizzed “did people start dying today?”
Interestingly, not even protestations from the NDC MP, Kwabena Mintah Akandoh, on the other phone line that her comments were unrefined could cause the Minister to change tack.
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