Thu, 13 Dec 2018 Health

Govt Open for Consultations on Drone Deal - Info Ministry

  Thu, 13 Dec 2018
Govt Open for Consultations on Drone Deal - Info Ministry

The Deputy Minister for Information, Mr Pius Enam Hadzide, says Government is open for further engagements and consultations with health stakeholders regarding the implementation of the drone health delivery system.

He told journalists at the bi-weekly media encounter, in Accra, on Wednesday, in reaction to the concerns expressed by various stakeholders in the health sector, and urged them to support the programme.

'Government is committed to ensuring effective healthcare delivery in the country, especially in the rural areas and we believe that the drone health delivery system would largely make an impact aside other measures to improve the health sector.

'Our doors remain open for further engagement and consultation on this project, which is to benefit the citizens of this country.

'The Akufo-Addo Administration will continue to improve the healthcare system and services for the wellbeing of citizens,' Mr Hadzide emphasised.

The programme is aimed at distributing blood and other essential medicines to hard-to-reach communities across the country, and it received parliamentary approval on Tuesday, December 11. The programme is estimated to cost 12 million dollars.

The Deputy Minister noted that government was aware of the various feedbacks that had greeted the introduction of the technology, including that of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA).

Responding to the GMA's concerns, Mr Hadzide said during the 2018 Annual Health Summit in Accra, Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia announced to the GMA about Government's intention to roll out the programme, as part of efforts to ensure effective healthcare delivery.

At the Summit, he said, the GMA welcomed the Government's decision, with the General-Secretary of the GMA, Dr Justice Yankson, even expressing the Association's dissatisfaction about the current emergency health delivery.

Mr Hadzide, therefore, expressed the Government's dismay at the current position taken by the GMA that the programme did not conform to the national primary healthcare policy.

The Deputy Minister quoted Dr Yankson's comments when the Vice President announced the project to the GMA as: 'Well, as for us as an Association on countless occasions, we have bemoaned the state of emergency medical service in the country…so if efforts are being made by the government to ensure that we strengthen that aspect of our healthcare delivery then we say kudos'.

The drone technology, the Deputy Minister said, like other technologies, fitted well into the primary healthcare policy geared towards the achievement of the universal health coverage.

The Ghana Health Service has stated that the drones would be used for distribution of blood and essential drugs and medical products to hard-to-reach areas across the country.

Government stated that the drone delivery services would come at no cost to the state because corporate entities would bear the cost through their social responsibility obligations.

Ghana's emergency medical drone delivery service is expected to save the nation millions of Ghana cedis by eliminating the need for expensive emergency trips to pick up medical products in far distance places.

The drones are expected to operate 24-hours per day from distribution centres across the country, which would be stocked with life-saving and essential medical supplies and help save lives of expectant mothers and women in labour, persons undergoing surgery, accident victims, among others.

The Zipline Ghana Limited, a California-based automated logistics company, is expected to build and operate the drone delivery services and would employ more than 200 Ghanaian pharmacists, engineers, flight operators, and many more essential and allied support staff.