The ambulance service is one of the vital health services for delivery of pre- and post- hospital care to a sick patient or to an injured patient resulting from an emergency or disaster.
It includes transporting the patient from the incident site to the emergency room of the receiving hospital for definitive care, transferring the patient to another hospital for further diagnostic and treatment purposes, and, as a special health service, rendering emergency medical care and life support to sustain the stability of the patient in transit to a and from the hospital.
All these require a vehicle called an ambulance, carrying the necessary medical care providers and appropriate lifesaving equipment, which is designed to comfortably accommodate a recumbent sick or injured patient, and allow easy movement of the medical care providers for continuous care of the patient. The parked ambulances at forecourt of Parliament, which were procured by the government in fulfillment of a campaign promise, have generated a lot of controversy.
The government has acquired over 300 ambulances, but delays in distributing the vehicles after they arrived in the country drew criticisms from Ghanaians. The ambulances were procured by the government to improve the huge deficit of 55 ambulances to 30 million Ghanaians.
An earlier date, January 6, 2020, on which President Akufo-Addo promised to distribute the ambulances was postponed on the advice of the Chief Executive Officer of the National Ambulance Service, Prof Ahmed Nuhu Zakaria, because all is not set yet for the efficient and effective use of the ambulances.
Prof Ahmed Nuhu Zakari said: “Training of staff and paramedics on usage of the ambulances and medical equipment,” as well as the installation of State of the art Digitised ICT Dispatch System” to control the effective and efficient coordination of the ambulances, were yet to be provided.
The Chief Executive Officer of the National Ambulance Service added that the training of staff and paramedics to use the ambulances and medical equipment, and the installation of tracking devices to ensure that the locations of all ambulances are known at every point in time; the setting up of the service centres across the country to ensure that the ambulances are maintained and sustainable so they don’t travel undue distances for servicing, and the branding of the ambulances had to be concluded before the distribution of the ambulances.
At long last, the Health Minister, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, has assured Ghanaians and confirmed that the parked ambulances at the forecourt of the State House will finally be distributed on January 28, 2020.
The Chronicle is happy that the President, in addition to distributing the ambulances, will also launch a new Ambulance Policy to provide guidance to all concerned agencies on the proper design, equipping, staffing and utilization of ambulance services, to protect and save the lives of patients, and to enable the medical care providers to properly perform their corresponding duties.
We are indeed happy about the Ambulance Policy, which is intended to set a broad framework for the development of ambulance services in Ghana.
The distribution of the ambulances and inauguration of the Ambulance Police on January 28, 2020 must certainly be worth the wait.