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15.09.2005 General News

Ghana Ambulance Service personnel pass out

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Accra, Sept 15, GNA - The Ministry of Health (MOH) in collaboration with the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) has instituted an emergency respond service that would provide timely pre-hospital medical care to victims at sites of accidents and other emergencies.

This would help reduce the high rate of deaths and disabilities during road accidents and other emergency situation in the country. The Ghana Ambulance Service (GAS), with access number 193 on the Ghana Telecom Network, would be an Agency under the MOH, where skilled Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) would be given the requisite training to handle accident victims and transport them to hospitals for more definitive care.

Major Courage Quashigah (rtd), Minister of Health, at the passing out ceremony of the second and third batches of 121 EMT personnel of the GAS, on Thursday, said lack of preparedness to handle emergency health situations had led to the loss of lives.

He described some road traffic accidents and other emergencies, including the May 9 stadium disaster that claimed 126 lives and the recent deaths of the three medical officers as clear evidences of the failure to respond to emergencies in the country.

The personnel, made up of 108 males and 13 females had gone through 11 months of training in areas including fire-related hazardous materials, radio and telephone communication skills, fire safety, cardiovascular emergencies, lifting and movement, documentation, defensive driving and foot drills and physical fitness. The newly trained EMT would be deployed to the various response stations to help to strengthen the national response to emergencies. Major Quashigah said to sustain the programme, a number of interventions including the procurement of 50 new ambulances to be deplored to fire service stations and hospitals. He said the GAS had trained and deployed the first batch of 64 personnel to seven locations, 58 of whom were drawn from the Ghana National Fire Service.

"A pilot phase of a pre-hospital ambulance service has been in operation at Tema, Amasaman, Weija, Nkawkaw, Ejisu, Mamponteng and the Okomfo-Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi since August 2004", he said. The Health Minister appealed to the public to cooperate with the personnel of the Service during emergency situations in order to save lives.

Major Quashigah noted that there would be little benefit if health institutions could not reciprocate the effort of the GAS in emergency situations.

"To this effect, the Ghana Health Service had designed elaborate programmes to train health personnel in all its facilities in accident and emergency preparedness, to rehabilitate available space in selected institutions and to equip them for handling emergencies reaching them", he said.

He said a major component of the preparation would also include public information and education involving the collaborating public institutions, media practitioners and the general public to ensure complete, accurate and timely information to the public. The Minster said the Service had engaged the GNFS, the Police Service, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) and the St. Johns Ambulance Service in the training of EMT's, in order to ensure a multi-disciplinary approach to reducing the problem.

He said the Ministry would take steps to cushion most of the problems in respect to accommodation for staff and allowances in order to ensure the success of the programme.

He, however, urged the personnel to maintain a high level of discipline in respect to response to duty, telephone calls, personal appearance and in general rules and ethics of the Service. 15 Sept. 05

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