The Member of Parliament for New Edubiase in the Ashanti Region, Hon. Abdul-Salam Adams has made a case for Parliament to pass the National Ambulance Bill into Law.
In an address on the floor of the House, he lamented the shabby nature of the current services of the National Ambulance Service which he attributed to a lack of coordination which in turn has caused problems such as inadequate personnel and equipment.
“Mr. Speaker, I’ll also like to urge this House to consider passing the National Ambulance Service Bill into law. When passed, the law will establish a publicly funded Ambulance Service to provide coordinated and timely delivery,” he urged.
Hon. Adams pointed out that the response time for ambulances in Ghana is worrisome and nothing to write home about compared to advanced countries like the US and the UK where emergency health services serious business.
“Mr. Speaker, in the United States, the average response time for emergency services to arrive is estimated to be seven minutes. In the United Kingdom, it is estimated to be eight minutes. In Ghana Mr. Speaker, the average response time in Greater Accra Region is around 16.9 minutes. However, in rural communities, rural communities have an average response time of almost 60- minutes or more.
“Mr. Speaker, when people are in critical conditions 60- minutes could be too long a time for a medical response. Yet sadly, this is the state of emergency medical service in the New Edubiase Constituency and I presume in many other rural communities,” he pointed out.
He cited examples from his constituency where a man who had suffered a head injury from an accident died because an ambulance was not available to convey him to the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital for emergency medical care.
“for instance, Mr. Speaker, on 2nd February 2021, Mr. Tekpor Wilson, a headteacher at Adansi Subin down a community in the New Edubiase constituency was involved in a car accident when he was returning to the community for work. He sustained life-threatening injuries and was rushed to the New Edubiase government hospital for treatment. Upon reaching the hospital, he was immediately referred to the Okomfo Anokye Teaching Hospital and needed the services of an ambulance,” he narrated.
“When friends of the victim reached out to the New Edubiase ambulance service, they were told the driver of the ambulance was indisposed and therefore were unable to render services without the designated ambulance driver. It took five hours after a request by the Adansi Asokwa constituency ambulance to arrive by which time, the victim had succumbed to the head injuries he sustained from the accident.”
It is estimated that the agency has a deficit in human resources to deliver the required services to Ghanaians. According to the MP, his checks indicate that the National Ambulance Service has a total of 2,147 emergency medical technicians and only 900 emergency medical technician trainees which he said was inadequate.
He added that there are also no sufficient numbers of ambulance services to ascertain the availability of births at the various referral facilities to enable them to move patients who require help to these facilities.
“The way forward Mr. Speaker includes training and recruiting more emergency medical technicians to augment the existing ones, strengthening ties with local health facilities to ensure timely emergency medical care and appropriateness of transfers and enhancing public awareness about National Ambulance Service,” the New Edubiase MP said.
The National Ambulance Service was established in 2004 as an agency of the Ministry of Health
As a statutory body, the National Ambulance Service is charged with the responsibility of providing comprehensive pre-hospital and emergency care.
Last year the government commissioned and distributed 307 ambulances to all the 275 constituencies in the country to help improve emergency healthcare delivery.