Prof. Nuhu Zakaria the Chief Executive Officer of the National Ambulance Service, has expressed worry over concentration of ambulances in cities to the detriment of rural areas where they are needed the most.
He said the country should be adopting Modified Motor Tricycle Ambulances and Health Commodity Delivery Vans to help tackle rural emergency medical system.
Speaking at the handing over of 40 new Modified Motor Tricycle Ambulances and 10 Health Commodity Delivery Vans by the Catholic Relief Services in Tamale to ten districts in the North to improve quality health service delivery, Prof. Zakaria said Ghana has come a long way in improving its emergency response systems noting that prior to 2001 Ghana didn’t have any organized emergency reform at all until 2004 when the then-government began to implement a pilot program with only seven emergency stations.
He said the success of the programme saw the system scaled up and by the end of 2016 Ghana had added 133 emergency stations.
Prof. Zakaria added that with the introduction of one constituency one ambulance project by the current government the figure has moved to 288 stations in the country.
He said the service has also improved the number its workforce from 63 to 2,300 attributing it to the expansion of the emergency reforms system put in place.
The CEO indicated that Ghana is the only country in West Africa that can boast of a paramedic and emergency care training school.
Prof. Zakaria said the support by the Catholic Relief Services ( CRS) to tackle the rural component of emergency medical system is laudable and urged other nongovernmental organizations to support the course.
The Country Representative of CRS, Daniel Mumuni said the vehicles are to support National Ambulance Service and the Ghana Health Service to further reach an estimated 1.2 million people in the next three years.
He said the vehicles have been insured adding that the organization is also partnering NAS to train all the drivers and committees that will oversee the operations and maintenance of the vehicles.
He mentioned Central Gonja, West Gonja, Nanumba North, Saboba, Zabzugu, Bunkpurugu, Yunyoo, Chereponi, Garu and Tempane as beneficiary districts.
Mr. Mumuni said the rural community-based ambulances have directly avoided over 7,000 possible maternal and newborn deaths in the beneficiary communities.
He said between 2014 and 2020 CRS Ghana has invested over 15 million dollars directly into supporting health care delivery for over 600 communities across 12 districts and 154 health facilities in the North, adding that it has also impacted over 850,000 beneficiary districts.
Mr. Mumuni hinted plans by the CRS to partner all these District Health Directorates in the Rural Emergency Health Services and Transport for System Development (REST4D) project to properly renovate and refurbish district medical stores into appropriate modern cross docking stations for temporary safe for medical supplies before it is delivered to the point of use.