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General News Wed, 12 Dec 2018

GMA Gen Secretary denies supporting drone medical deliveries deal

The General Secretary of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA), Dr Justice Yankson has denied suggestions that the association had earlier supported and endorsed the drone medical deliveries deal only for it to do a u-turn.

"To the best of my knowledge, the GMA has never been part of any discussions on the drones," Dr Yankson said in a radio interview in reaction to the suggestion by the Deputy Minister of Information, Mr Pius Enam Hadzide on Wednesday.

Speaking on Asempa FM's Ekosii Sen programme Wednesday afternoon, Dr Yankson said he has also not personally supported the drone medical deliveries project anywhere.

He indicated it was surprising for the Deputy Minister to suggest at a press briefing that, the GMA or he [Dr Yankson] was being inconsistent on the issue.

"You see these are some of the things that politicians do sometimes," that take citizens back and insisted that he has never attended any of the health summits," where government sought to portray that he [Yankson] espoused the GMA's support and endorsement for the drones policy.

"I have at no point had discussions with government or any government official on this drone system," Dr Yankson insisted.

Dr Yankson subsequently demanded a retraction and an apology from the Deputy Information Minister explaining that, the issue has caused him a lot of discomfort since Wednesday morning since colleague doctors in Ghana and abroad have been calling for clarity.

"He [Pius Hadzide] should do the honourable thing or I will take him on further," Dr Yankson said and added that the Deputy Minister "spew out palpable falsehood."

Parliament

Parliament on Tuesday approved the service agreement for the use of drones to distribute essential medicines and blood to remote areas.

Even though the deal was approved, there were strong objections by the Minority Members of Parliament (MPs), who forced the approval process to be decided by a head count, with 102 MPs voting for it, while 58 MPs voted against it.

GMA reaction

The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) reacting to the development asked government to suspend the proposed deal, arguing that the proposal do not conform to the existing primary health care policy in Ghana.

It also claimed that the association was not consulted on the matter and therefore called for a broader stakeholder consultation.

Govt reaction

However, the government on Wednesday dismissed the GMA's claims that it had not been made aware of the service agreement deal to have drones deliver essential medical supplies to remote areas in Ghana.

According to a Deputy Minister of Information, Mr Pius Enam Hadzide, the General Secretary of the Association, Dr Justice Yankson welcomed the deal when the Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia announced it at the 2018 Annual Health Summit in Accra.

At a press briefing in Accra Wednesday morning, Mr Hadzide said the current posture of the GMA on the matter was surprising.

Dismissing the claims by the GMA, Mr Hadzide said Dr Yankson gave the association’s blessings on the new policy since, according to him, it would strengthen emergency medical service in the country.

He quoted Dr Yankson as saying: “Well, for us as an association, on countless occasions, we have bemoaned the state of emergency medical service in the country, so if efforts are being made by the government to ensure we strengthen that aspect of our healthcare delivery, then we say kudos”.

Below is the full address delivered by the Deputy Information Minister, Pius Enam Hadzide at Wednesday's press briefing

12/12/18

Minister’s Press Briefings

Addressed by Hon. Pius Enam Hadzide (Deputy Minister)

Venue: Information Ministry Press Briefing Centre

Opening Remarks

Good morning and thank you for attending our mid week Press briefing. Our focus for this morning is on two subjects…

1. IMF Managing Director visits Ghana from 16th to 18 December 2018.

2. Government urges stakeholders in health to support drone Health Delivery System aimed at distributing essential medical drugs.

1. IMF Managing Director visits Ghana from 16th to 18th December 2018.

Ladies and gentlemen

The Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde is set to visit Ghana from 16th to 18th of December 2018.

The visit comes weeks ahead of Ghana’s conclusion of the IMF program.

The visit of the IMF boss marks an appreciation of our policy direction and solid economic fundamentals. Our fiscal rules which ensure irreversibility signal to the world that Ghana is ready for investments.

Aside from showing the world that doing business with us is a move in the right direction, the visit of Madame Lagarde has the potential to unlock for us as a nation good coupon rates on the international bonds market.

On Monday December 17, Madame Lagarde will participate in the Future of Work in sub-Saharan Africa Conference in Accra.

The one-day conference is an opportunity for the Managing Director to engage with thought-leaders and influencers from sub-Saharan Africa on the future of work.

The objective of the conference it to generate a debate on the future of work in sub-Saharan Africa and the policies required to create jobs for the continent’s growing population. How the region can manage and leverage the impact of technological change, demographics, climate change, and the course of globalization.

The IMF boss will on the same day hold bilateral talks with President Akufo-Addo at the Jubilee House.

She is also expected to have lunch with some Ghanaian women entrepreneurs who are doing well in their field of work.

On Tuesday 18th December, the IMF Managing Director will give a key note address at a forum in Accra to be attended by government agencies, central bank, private sector, think tanks, civil society, NGOs and academia.

She will depart from Accra same day to Johannesburg South Africa on a four Africa Nation tour.

It is our hope that the visit of the IMF boss will further strengthen the cordial relationship between Ghana and the IMF on economic policies.

2. Government urges stakeholders in health to support drone Health Delivery System aimed at distributing essential medical drugs.

Government will want to once again urge stakeholders in the health sector to support the smooth run of the Drone Health Delivery System which received parliamentary approval yesterday.

As most of you may be aware the Drone Health Delivery System is expected to cater for the distribution of essential medical drugs to rural communities.

Government is aware of the various feedbacks that have greeted the introduction of the technology project including that from the Ghana Medical Association.

Indeed at the 2018 Annual Health Summit in Accra, the Vice President Alhaji Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia announced to the GMA government’s intention to roll out the project as part of efforts to ensure effective healthcare delivery.

The Ghana Medical Association welcomed the decision by government and to quote the General Secretary of the GMA Dr. Justice Yankson reaction to the announcement....

“Well, for us as an association, on countless occasions, we have bemoaned the state of emergency medical service in the country, so if efforts are being made by the government to ensure we strengthen that aspect of our healthcare delivery, then we say kudos,”

Government is therefore taken aback at the current position of the GMA when it says...

“The proposed services to be provided by the drones do not conform to the primary healthcare policy in Ghana”.

The drone technology like other technology introduced into the health delivery system ladies and gentlemen fits well into the primary health care policy towards the achievement of universal health coverage.

Last week I personally joined officials of the Ghana Health Service and Zip line Company Limited to outline details of the project and engage the media on the creation of awareness.

Government is committed to ensuring effective health care delivery in the country especially in rural areas and we believe the Drone Health Delivery System will largely make an impact aside other measures to improve the health sector.

Our doors are opened for further engagements and consultations on this project which is to benefit citizens of this country.

The Akufo-Addo administration will continue to improve the health care system and services for the wellbeing of citizens.

I thank you all for your attention.

Source: Graphic.com.gh