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01.04.2004 General News

64 Fire Service personnel recruited for emergency cases

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Accra, April 1, GNA- The Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Ministry of Interior is recruiting 64 personnel of the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) to form the Ghana Ambulance Service for emergency preparedness.

The recruitment, which is at the premises of the GNFS training academy, is to equip them with skills to respond to prompt emergency situations that occur on the roads, homes, natural and man-made disasters as well as other medical and surgical emergencies.

The 12-week training, which started in March one, this year, is a pilot programme to be operated in Accra and Kumasi and will be extended to other regions in the near future.

Dr Kweku Afriyie, Minister of Health accompanied by Mr Hackman Owusu Agyeman, Minister of Interior paid a working visit to the recruitment grounds to interact with the trainees.

Dr Afriyie noted that 10 ambulances equipped with communication and medical equipment have been acquired to start with the first phase of the pilot and additional 50 ambulances were due to arrive in the middle of the year for a successful and sustained initiative to give quality health care to all. He said eight hospitals and eight fire stations in Accra and Kumasi have been equipped with radio gadgets to communicate between each other and the ambulances. He noted that cabinet has approved 1.4 billion cedis for the take off of the first phase and additional 19 billion cedis for the second phase that would expand the programme to the other regions.

The Health Minister explained that the Ghana Health Service (GHS) has also designed an elaborate training programme to train health personnel in all faculties in accident and emergency preparedness. They would also rehabilitate available space in selected institutions and equip these centres to handle emergency situations that might occur in their area.

Dr Afriyie explained that, most of the disasters that occur would not have happened if they were handled properly. "The establishment of the ambulance service will handle such situations with care and professionalism, should they occur again to save more lives", he added.

Mr Owusu Agyeman urged the trainees to take their lessons seriously and make dedication a priority to make Ghana a centre of excellence for the neighbouring countries.

The Chief Fire Officer, Mr Emmanuel Atinga commended government for initiating such a programme to save the lives of Ghanaians and making GNFS the training grounds. He however, expressed the fear that GNFS would lose many of its personnel if the programme became an independent body since it was their staff that had been recruited for the ambulance programme.

He also suggested that trainees be given the opportunity to further their training in emergency medical technician courses abroad so as to learn more, perform better and deliver quality health care. 1 April 04