The Ghana Ambulance service has revealed that it has only 165 ambulances across the nation to cater for the nation’s emergency situations.
This number according to them is woefully inadequate for a country that has over 25 million citizens. According to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Ambulance Service, Prof. Ahmed Nuhu Zakaria, the number is below the internationally accepted ratio which is 25 000 people to one ambulance.
“Normally, internationally, you are supposed to have one ambulance to 25 000 people but currently when you look at it we are woefully inadequate because we are far below the international accepted standard. You will need at least at 1,000 ambulances in the country and currently we just have 165 so speaking nationally, we are under resourced,” he noted.
Prof. Zakaria made the revelation on the Citi Breakfast Show in relation to claims that most ambulances in neighboring towns in Kintampo, where a recent accident involving a Metro Mass Transit bus and truck carrying tomatoes occurred, were not functional resulting in a higher death toll (61).
The CEO also lamented that the service is under resourced and needs replacement of vehicles.
He indicated that their vehicles are supposed to be replaced after every five years but said though government has acquired about 200 of them; the procurement process has delayed the purchases.
He told Citi Breakfast Show host Bernard Avle that even though procurement processes were initiated two years ago for the purchases; only 30 have so far been procured.
Prof. Zakaria said their vehicles are supposed to be replaced after every five years adding that the current ones purchased five years ago.
“That is why government is procuring 200 to replace them. The first 30 are in the country and the other 170 is under production. The procurement processes go through a lot of processes and if I may recall it is since 2012 that the process started. Along the line there were challenges with the procurement process. I think it’s our bureaucratic issues because of the process that the whole procurement goes through,” he added.
Ghana has one of the poorest emergency services with very few ambulances that struggle to move through congested streets in case of emergency.
The inefficiency of the emergency system means people resort to private cars and taxicabs to carry sick relatives to health centres.
Sometimes the inefficiencies led to the loss of precious lives as it happened in the Kintampo-Tamale accident.