Ambulance Service Operates with Overaged Vehicles

Prof. Ahmed N. Zakariah, CEO of the National Ambulance Service, making statement during the meeting

 

All the 161 ambulances operated by the National Ambulance Service (NAS) are over aged.

The development has compelled officials of the service to raise concerns about their continuous use on the roads.

According to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the NAS, Prof. Ahmed Nuhu Zakaria, there were constant breakdowns of the ambulances.

“At any point in time, only about 60 of the ambulances are on the road, with the rest finding their way to workshops due to breakdowns,” he told the Daily Graphic after the opening of the 2017 annual review and management meeting of the service in Accra yesterday.

Prof. Zakaria said the ambulances, which were purchased in 2012, had outlived their life span, a development he feared could work against the service’s aim of meeting its goals.

Government commitment

Fortunately, the CEO said, the current government had demonstrated commitment to strengthen the NAS to the extent that the improvement of the service was captured in the New Patriotic Party’s 2016 election manifesto.

The NAS, established in 2004, is the emergency medical service system of the country dedicated to providing out-of-hospital acute medical care, transport to definitive care and other medical transport to patients with illnesses and injuries which prevent them from transporting themselves.

Inadequate numbers

Prof. Zakaria indicated that Ghana, with a population of over 25 million, needed at least 500 good ambulances to operate an efficient ambulance service.

He advised ambulance drivers to be extra cautious on the road by guarding against speeding.

Addressing the opening ceremony, Prof. Zakaria mentioned the lack of a dedicated source of funding as another problem working against the smooth running of the service. “This, coupled with inadequate funding, impedes smooth operations,” he said.

He also pointed to the non-passage of the NAS Bill as a major hindrance to their activities “since the lack of legislation limits us in so many ways”.

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