The procurement and subsequent deployment of some 307 new ambulances by government has bolstered the country’s otherwise deficient National Ambulance Service, enhancing emergency care delivery.
This is because the total number of functioning state ambulances has climbed up from the initial number of 50 until recently to 357, representing over 600 per cent increase.
The move by government has also propelled Ghana towards achieving the world’s standard of ambulance to population ratio.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) stipulates that for an efficient emergency care delivery, the ambulance to population ratio of every country must be at 1:50,000. This means that for every 50,000 people in a country there should be at least one ambulance catering for their emergency needs.
Hitherto, Ghana had an ambulance to population ratio of 1:524,000 when it had only 50 ambulances. But now, the ratio, following the introduction of the 307 new ambulances, has improved significantly to 1:84,000.
Ideally, with an estimated population of 30 million people, Ghana needs 600 functional ambulances to make the WHO mark. The addition of the 307 ambulances to the existing 50 fleet by the current administration suggests that the country now needs only 243 more ambulances to achieve the ratio.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Tuesday commissioned the newly procured 307 ambulances for onward distribution to all 275 constituencies across the country.
The move by the government aimed at improving health care delivery, particularly in emergency care in Ghana, is in fulfilment of a campaign promise to Ghanaians ahead of the 2016 general poll.
The initiative, “One Constituency, One Ambulance” forms part of the Infrastructure for Poverty Eradication Programme (IPEP) under the Ministry of Special Development.
The President in his speech intimated that accessing quality health care is a fundamental right for every citizen but can best materialise if there is the presence sufficient of pre-hospital emergency service in across of the country.
He therefore noted that it is appropriate for the state to “reequip, retool and restaff” the National Ambulance Service to make it efficient in the delivery of its mandate.
“To I’m glad to be presenting to the ministry of health 307 brand new state-of-the-art ambulances fitted with advanced life support equipment and tracking devices to be distributed to 275 constituencies; that is one constituency, One Ambulance to be managed by the National Ambulance Service and the remaining of 32 ambulances to the headquarters of the service,” he said.
“As a result, this means that we bring to an end the scenario whereby one ambulance served approximately 524,000 at the end of December 2016,” he advanced.
“Today we have a much improved ratio of one ambulance serving approximately 84,000 people. Additionally in the course of the year 145 new ambulance stations will be created bringing the total to 275 ambulance stations, ensuring that we have a “one constituency, one ambulance” station situation. We promised in the 2016 NPP manifesto to strengthen the National Ambulance Service,” he asserted.