Special Dev't Minister Responds To 'Parked Ambulances' Brouhaha

Minister for Special Development Initiatives, Mavis Hawa Koomson has debunked assertions made by the Minority in Parliament that the procured ambulances are parked at the forecourt of Parliament house as a result of the uninstalled tracking devices.

It is also in response to the questions asked by pressure group, OccupyGhana over the government’s delay in distributing the ambulances.

According to the Awutu-Senya East Constituency MP, the issue with the parked ambulances has nothing to do with the uninstalled tracking devices.

The Minority side on Parliament’s Health Committee has issued a 3-day ultimatum to President Akufo-Addo to distribute ambulances parked at the state house to prevent avoidable deaths.

Addressing the media in Parliament, Ranking Member on the Committee, Kwabena Mintah Akandoh said it was wrong for the ambulances to be parked for months when they are needed in communities to help save lives.

“From the time these ambulances were parked till 2020, do you know the number of people who would die because they could not get access to ambulances? I do not know whether they do not understand emergency purposes . . . We are calling on the President to immediately distribute the ambulances available so they can serve their purpose," he said.

But reacting to the assertion of the Minority in Parliament on Okay FM’s 'Ade Akye Abia' Morning Show, the Minister for Special Development Initiatives explained that, “it is not like that; if it were to be tracking device, the ambulances can start working while we fix the tracking the device”.

Hawa Koomson reiterated that, “the problem is that the Paramedics who will use the ambulances have to be trained and it takes 6 months to train them."

“Someone will ask why we didn’t train them before the arrival of the ambulances. We included the training in the procurement but PPA said that we should detach the training from the main procurement of the ambulances and then later we bring the training for procurement, and that is why we did that, and we know how cumbersome our procurement process is,” she explained.

She added that her Ministry has to seek financial clearance in order to train, feed and pay the paramedics who are going to handle the ambulances; stressing that another challenge with the ambulance usage has to do with the service centers which are yet to be established close to the constituencies.

She says over 500 paramedics will soon complete training to manage the ambulances parked in front of the State House ahead of their official release in January 2020.

She argued that the government has spent a fortune in purchasing these facilities and as such it’s only proper that measures are put in place for the effective management and sustainability of the ambulances before distribution starts.

Pressure Group, Occupy Ghana, over the weekend expressed its disappointment over government’s delay in distributing the ambulances parked in front of the State House.

96 out of the 275 ambulances are currently parked at the State House awaiting distribution.

The group, in a statement, wondered why the ambulances were left idling in the wake of concerns over a shortage in the number of working ambulances in the country.

It said although it was impressed with the government’s decision to procure the ambulances, the delay in distribution is disappointing.

Occupy Ghana’s concerns follow calls by the Minority side on Parliament’s Health Committee for the immediate release of the ambulances at the State House.

‘First batch of 275 ambulances in Ghana’

In September 2019, President Nana Akufo-Addo announced the arrival of the first batch ambulances for all 275 constituencies in the country.

The arrival of the ambulances forms part of the fulfillment of a promise made by President Nana Akufo-Addo and the NPP Government in the build-up to the 2016 general elections.