‘Medical drones can reduce maternal deaths’ - Doctor
Some health officials, patients and visitors of the New Tafo Government hospital have testified to the swiftness of the medical drones launched yesterday and its ability to eliminate maternal death to the barest minimum.
The hospital, before the launch of the facility at Omenako in the Eastern Region yesterday, by the Vice President, was used to test the effectiveness of the drone facility to ensure that it serves the purpose for which it was established.
Dr Kobina Awortwe Wiredu, Medical Superintendent at the hospital indicated that the hospital would be able to eradicate maternal deaths completely, due to the speed with which drugs are delivered by the drones.
“I am hopeful we are going to reduce our maternal death situation because of this drone technology, if it doesn’t eradicate maternal death completely, I will be surprised, because one of the things that usually hampers our success when it comes to reducing maternal death to a significant level is having the regular supplies of blood and blood products at the right time.”
He explained that one of the reasons why the health sector has not been able to eradicate maternal deaths and other diseases are not due to the unavailability of drugs, but rather the untimely delivery of drugs due to the poor road network.
“Our roads are not really good so when you are transporting drug by road it takes a while. So our problem is not the availability of the drugs, but the delay in getting it to the facility. So this is where I think the drone is going to help us in making sure that we quickly work on the patient and restore them back to life.”
Dr Wiredu said, ever since the piloting started, the hospital has been able to save some lives and also vaccinated some children.
He said the only thing the hospital does is to place an order on a Whatsapp platform and the drugs are delivered within 20-30 minutes after the request has been done.
He, therefore, entreated Ghanaians to embrace the drone technology and help the government achieve its goals in eliminating all forms of diseases by 2030, as stipulated in the sustainable development goals.
Mr Seth Bonny, the Deputy Pharmacist who works at the unit where the order for drugs is usually sent to the drone center said the drone technology has been very helpful.
He said that its ability to deliver medicines within some few minutes cannot be over-emphasised and commended the government for the initiative.
Mr Bonny observed that, before the piloting commenced at the hospital, his colleague pharmacists had to drive long distances to the regional medical store in Koforidua to get drugs for patients, a situation which sometimes claims the lives of some patients.
“But now we are able to sit in the comfort of our offices and place an order and it’s delivered within some few minutes”, he said.
“The drone is faster, as compared to driving to the regional medical store to go through the process of filling forms before it would be given to you. Once an order is placed, in less than 14 to15 minutes it gets here, so it is a very good technology. I think it’s a good thing and the hospital can save lots of lives, so I entreat every Ghanaian to embrace it,” he added.
Mr John Abban, a brother of one of the patients admitted at the hospital indicated that his brother, who was operated on Monday, could have died due to the shortage of blood at the hospital, but for the timely intervention of the drone delivery.
Narrating the ordeal, Mr Abban said that; “After the operation, the doctors were still in the theatre room and I was wondering what was keeping them. Then I saw one of the nurses and asked why they were still in the theatre when we had been informed the operation had been completed. The nurse then informed me that my brother needed blood because his blood level had dropped.
“I was very worried because I didn’t know where I was going to get the blood from, but the nurse told me that they had contacted the Zipline Drone facility to send them blood, so I should pray it is delivered”.
Mr Abban said that the drone dropped a box on the ground within some few minutes and the doctors picked it up and administered it on my brother. He, therefore, encouraged Ghanaians to throw their weight behind the government to make the drone technology work effectively.