On November 17, 2019, we issued a statement titled "Ghanaians Won’t be Spectators of Parked Ambulances." In that statement we asked why the ambulances are still parked and not in use. We also raised questions about our preparedness including the establishment of an emergency response system.
We have seen in the press what purports to be answers to the questions we posed, emanating from the Ministry of Special Development Initiatives. While we appreciate the prompt response of the Ministry, we will like further elucidation of a few issues.
The first is the issue of the command centres. The National Ambulance Service has historically not had a Command Centre, not even in Accra. What we have is a call centre, and not a Command Centre. We further ask the following questions:
(1) What proof is there that the service is now running command or response centres in all the regions?
(2) When was the setup of these centres initiated?
(3) Do these regional centres have the ability to communicate with each other and with the NADMO, police service and fire service?
(4) Is there a Central one that acts the main node?
(5) What platform are these centres operating on?
(6) Can a copy of the command centre infrastructure we have be made available to us?
Next is the issue of beds. Acquiring 10,000 beds, though commendable will not fix the underlying issue of lack of beds if there is no bed management system that plugs into the command centres. On this we ask the following questions:
(1) Is there a bed management system in place?
(2) What is the platform?
(3) Do all the command centres have access to this system?
Another important issue is funding. On this we ask the following questions:
(1) How will this budding emergency response system be funded?
(2) How sustainable will the financing be such that we will not have another discussion on procurement of ambulances and other necessities with every new government?
Even though ambulances form a very important component of an emergency response service, there are other parts that are necessary for the system to run seamlessly and be effective in saving lives. Without an effective system in place, the ambulance by themselves will not have their desired effect.
Clearly, Ghana needs an emergency response system direly. However, nothing exposes the deficiencies of a healthcare system like emergency care. Maybe as we try to build this new service, it will force us to tackle the larger issues that plaque general healthcare service and the policies that drive it.
We thus ask that if the necessary steps have not been taken, that we start immediately working towards those. Like you said in your statement, the ambulances cost a lot of money. That is why we should be prepared so as not to waste them.
Yours in the service of God and Country
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