It appears the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Special Development are not on the same page as far as the supply and distribution of ambulances government procured to ease delivery of healthcare in the country is concerned.
Prior to the 2020 budget presentation by Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta, the Minister for Special Development while speaking in an interview established that the procured ambulances under the one constituency, one ambulance promise by the NPP government will come to fruition in January 2020.
Speaking on Accra-based Asempa FM’s Ekosii Sen programme on Monday, November 11, Hawa Koomson explained that her outfit was fixing tracking devices in the vehicles to ensure the ambulances are used for the intended purpose.
She noted that there are arrangements with the manufacturers to also set up a maintenance and spare parts unit in Ghana to deal with mechanical faults once they occur.
In contrast, however, during his presentation on November 13, the Finance Minister assured Members of Parliament and subsequently Ghanaians that the much-anticipated buses will arrive at the various constituencies before the year ends.
“To address the problem of a lack of ambulances in many parts of the country we have procured 307 well-equipped ambulances for the National ambulance service under the one constituency one ambulance initiative.
By next month, all 275 constituencies will each have a functioning ambulance. This will increase the ambulances from 54 to 361, over 500% increase,” he told Parliament.
In September 2019, President Nana Akufo-Addo announced the arrival of the first batch of ambulances for all 275 constituencies in the country.
The buses, numbering 48 have since been parked at the forecourt of the Parliament House while government awaits delivery of the remaining ones waiting to be cleared at the port.
But Minority in Parliament, displeased with government’s decision to park the buses without distributing to the constituencies as promised, issued a 3-day ultimatum for action to be taken.
“As a matter of urgency, we are calling on the president to immediately distribute the ambulances that are available so that they could serve their purpose. We are giving the president a maximum of three days to distribute the ambulances”, Spokesperson on Health Mintah Akando directed at a press conference on Thursday, November 14.
Reacting to Minority’s charge, the Special Development Initiative Ministry explained in a statement that: “the Ambulances are just not parked but rather there are plethora of activities taking place to ensure that, proper management structures have been put in place before distribution which is just 2 months away.
Government has spent a fortune in purchasing these facilities and as such, it is only proper that measures are put in place for the effective management and sustainability of the Ambulances before distribution starts in January.”
The position of the Special Development Initiative Ministry raises questions about when the ambulances are actually supposed to be distributed considering the variations in dates; next month (December 2019) as stated by Mr. Ofori-Atta or 2020 as indicated by the Special Devt Initiative Ministry.