The National Ambulance Service (NAS) responded to about 28,000 emergency cases in a year following the deployment of the 307 new ambulances last year.
Before the procurement of the ambulances, the NAS, which was operating with 55 semi-functioning ambulances, could do less than 5,000 cases in a year.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Ambulance Service (NAS), Prof. Ahmed Nuhu Zakariah, who made this known, said the “28,000 is a record in the history of the NAS.”
The Service was now in a position to help the country build a very robust emergency medical system.
“In so doing, we are also helping to improve the referral system in order to improve the emergency response system in the hospitals,” he told journalists in Accra last Tuesday.
On January 28, 2019, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo commissioned and presented 307 new, state-of-the-art ambulances to the NAS in fulfilment of his 2016 campaign pledge of one constituency, one-ambulance.
At the time of the presentation of the new ambulances, the NAS had 130 stations and 10 regional control rooms across the country, with 55 semi-functioning ambulances.
However, Prof. Zakariah said, the Service had 288 ambulance stations across the country.
He stated that the one-constituency, the one-ambulance project was having a positive impact on the lives of the people, especially those in the rural communities as it had brought tremendous improvement in emergency medical and rescue services
“Can you imagine some people who have never seen even a taxi carrying a pregnant woman now have the benefit of an ambulance in good condition and well-equipped ready to move from one area to the other,’’ the CEO, who is leading a team from the NAS to tour the country to assess the impact of the new ambulances on the lives of the people, said.
“The ambulances have improved inter-hospital transfers and interaction with some of the health authorities, they are able to realise that even maternal mortality is on the decline in many areas, the reason being that some pregnant women, who would have died on their way to the hospital, are now able to get transportation to the hospitals safely.
“It has also improved the delay in terms of seeking help, so basically this project is very positive and it’s impacting lives and we are encouraging the government to do more,” Prof. Zakariah said.
He also said response time to emergencies had improved from over 30 minutes to 20 minutes or less.
Last year, the government approved a credit facility for the procurement of 100 more ambulances and the CEO expressed the hope that the procurement process would start this year.
“We embarked on nationwide monitoring to assess the impact of the ambulances. We started with the five regions of the north last year.
“This year, we resumed the visits and we just returned from the second leg of the visit. We visited Oti, Volta, Eastern. We are now planning to move to the Ashanti Region, Bono, Bono East and Ahafo regions after which Western, Western North and Central will be covered and eventually end in the Greater Accra Region’’, he said.
Prof. Zakariah said the NAS was in talks with the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) to facilitate the affiliation of the NAS Paramedics and Emergency Training School at Nkenkensu in the Ashanti Region with the university.
“An affiliation will lead to the offering of degrees beyond the certificate programmes to run degree and postgraduate programmes. This will enable Ghana to become the hub of training of paramedics in West Africa’’, he added.