In a country of 29 million people and clocking nearly 30 million in a few years, you would think that priority will be given to our health issues, and every other element associated with it. But it does not seem likely. God forbid, but should an epidemic break out in the country, we are all likely to die because, we do not have adequate emergency response systems put in place. It would interest you to know that in this country, we have just 55 of the 155 ambulances, serving all ten regions.
The situation is not a new one, but has reached a level that requires urgent action, and not just the attention of health authorities.
We as at now cannot ascertain if the remaining 55 stationed in various parts of the country to offer emergency health responses and basic life support is in good enough shape to offer such services.
There are also 130 ambulance service stations in the country, and each is supposed to have at least one ambulance, but due to the limited number of functioning ambulances in the country, many of the service centres ‘function’ without them.
The National Headquarters of the Ambulance Service situated in Accra has only four ambulances.
Per the regional distribution, the Greater Accra region, with the largest allocation of the scarce resource, has just nine, while the Central Region has the least number of ambulances, with just two 2, although there are 10 service centers in the region.
That ratio is well above the appropriate ratios of between 1:50,000 to 1:100,000 as suggested by experts.
It is worsened by the growing burden of lifestyle related diseases in the country and rising cases of motor accidents.
Many Ghanaians involved in motor and other forms of accidents often die because they do not have rapid access to ambulances that offer first aid and basic life support services before they arrive at hospitals for proper treatment.
With many resorting to transporting patients requiring emergency health services with taxis, private cars, trotros, and motorbikes, Ghana’s mortality rate may continue to see an increase if the situation of lack of ambulances is not addressed.
Meanwhile, Ghanaians are still hopeful of an improvement in the situation after Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia promised that government would procure a number of ambulances.
In an address at the 2018 Annual Health Summit in Accra, he announced that the government has initiated processes to provide 275 ambulances to boost the operations of the National Ambulance Service. According to him, each constituency will be given one of the ambulances.
The Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyemang Manu had, earlier in January, announced the procurement of the 275 ambulances had been factored into the one constituency, one million dollar agenda promised by the government.