Accra, June 30, GNA - Sixty-four Emergency Medical Technicians of the Ghana Ambulance Service (GAS) passed out on Wednesday after 15 weeks training to enable them to provide timely pre-hospital medical care to prevent death of patients and accident victims before reaching hospitals.
Dr Kwaku Afriyie, Minister of Health, addressing the technicians said cabinet had approved 1.4 billion cedis for a first phase of a pilot project to train more such personnel.
Additional 19 billion cedis for the second phase of the project would also be provided to establish the ambulance service and to expand the service to reach other parts of the country.
The Health Minister said he expected that by August 1, this year Ghana's emergency preparedness would be enhanced by an infant ambulance service that would grow and mature to become a major contributor to the reduction of death, illness and disability.
"A well functioning ambulance service could reduce deaths and permanent injury if it brought medical help to the site of accidents within minutes".
To initiate the pilot phase of an ambulance service in Accra and Kumasi, 10 ambulances had been acquired and equipped and 50 more would arrive in the country by October 2004 for the next phase, the Minister said.
He said fifteen hospitals and fire service stations in Accra and Kumasi had been equipped with radio equipment to communicate among themselves.
The logo of the Ghana Ambulance Service is a crest with the inscription "Timely Care Saves Lives".
Mr. Thomas Broni, Deputy Minister for the Interior, who chaired the function, said the birth of the Ghana Ambulance Service represented an increasing coordination of disaster prevention measures being implemented by the government.
He advised the grandaunts to be committed to their profession. Dr Nana Enyimayew, Acting Director in charge of the Ghana Ambulance Service said the Ambulance call number of 193 would be activated by August 1, this year and a public information and education strategy would be launched.