A new emergency number 112 has been announced by president Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for all emergency services in Ghana. Furthermore, 577 emergency medical technicians have been recruited for the national ambulance service with another 900 underway
These revelations were made when President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo commissioned 307 state of the art ambulances at a handing over ceremony held at the independence square in Accra. The ambulances have been procured under the Infrastructure for Poverty Eradication program (IPEP) instituted by the ministry of special initiatives.This forms a part of the $1 million per constituency policy promised by the governing new patriotic party.
The purpose of the ambulances according to the ministry of health is in line with the government’s efforts to improve emergency health care in all the constituencies across Ghana.
The distribution of the ambulances generated debate with the minority clamouring for its early commissioning, after the first batch arrived.
Govt in its response said it needed all the vehicles in the country to distribute them equitably so as to avoid complaints of neglect.
Govt also added that it was important to conclude the training of emergency medical staff, who would be manning the ambulances.
Since the establishment of the Ghana Ambulance Service in 2004 with some 10 ambulances and 7 stations, emergency healthcare has, in recent years, ground to a halt leaving the Ambulance Service been confronted with logistical challenges with only some 55 ambulances to cater for the nation.
Presenting the ambulances, at a ceremony at the Independence Square, the President noted that, when he took office in January 2017, the National Ambulance Service had 130 stations, 10 regional control rooms across the country, and only 55 ‘semi-functioning’ ambulances.
“In December 2015, two hundred (200) ambulances were supposedly purchased by the Mahama government, out of which only thirty (30) arrived in the country. As though this was not enough, the thirty (30) were declared “not fit for purpose because they had cardinal defects and did not come with any medical equipment. This was completely unacceptable, and my government was determined to rectify this unhappy state of affairs,” he said.
The presentation of the 307 ambulances, the President said, means that “as against the scenario whereby one (1) ambulance served approximately five hundred and twenty-four thousand (524,000) people at the end of December 2016, today, we have a much-improved ratio of one ambulance serving approximately eighty-four thousand (84,000) people.”
Towards addressing the challenges confronting the Ambulance Service, President Akufo-Addo noted that, firstly, the Ministry of Finance has provided financial clearance for the National Ambulance Service to recruit and train 1,477 emergency medical technicians.
Out of this number, he said that, 577 have already been recruited, with the process for recruiting the 900 underway.
Government, President Akufo-Addo told the gathering, has succeeded in getting a unique emergency number for all providers of emergency services in the country, with the Police Service, Fire Service and the National Ambulance Service, all, in the past, having different emergency numbers.
“I am happy to announce that, thankfully, we have merged all the emergency numbers to one number, which is 112. For any form of emergency, either Police Service, Fire Service or Ambulance Service, the number to dial on all mobile networks is 112,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo assured that Government will ensure that the needed infrastructure is provided to the Paramedic and Emergency Care Training School, at Nkenkaasu, to help ensure that it serves its purpose of training paramedics in the country and West Africa, and also serve as a refresher course centre for emergency care training for doctors, nurses and other paramedics in the country and West Africa.
The 307 ambulances are “fitted with advanced life support equipment and tracking devices, to be distributed to 275 constituencies, and the remainder of thirty-two (32) ambulances to the headquarters of the Service.”
Emergency medical support systems onboard the ambulances include an Inverter +Extra Battery, an Inboard Battery Charger, 2 Oxygen Regulators with Manometer, 2 Humidifiers and Oxygen Flowmeters, an Advancey Electronic Touch Screen -Wifi Control Panel, Intercom Set for communication between Driver and Patient’s Cabin, Cabinets for Medical Equipments and Electrical Outlets.
In attendance were the vice President of the Republic, alhaji Dr Mahamudu BAWUMIA, the chief of staff, Akosua Frema Osei Opare , and the minister of health, Kwaku Agyeman Manu, ministers of state, members of parliament, chiefs and some jubilant members of the New patriotic party.