Dr Kweku Agyemang Mensah, the Health Minister, has commended Professor Ahmed Zakariah, Chief Executive Officer, National Ambulance Service (NAS) for working assiduously to improve on the fortunes of the organisation.
He said under the leadership of Prof Zakariah, NAS had been able to increase its ambulance stations from seven in 2004 to 124 in 2013 in all the 10 regions with two dispatch centres in Accra and Kumasi.
He said this on Monday during the sixth passing out ceremony for 196 Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) recruits who would constitute the Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) wing or first aid caregivers of the GNFS after receiving a two-year intensive training in emergency medical procedures from the NAS.
The training, which was in line with international standards, took the trainees through courses such as, Basic Principles of Resuscitation, Automated External Defibrillation, Control of Hemorrhage, Treatment of Shock, Bandaging of Wounds, Administration of Oxygen, among others.
Dr Agyeman Mensah said Prof Zakariah had been able to increase the number of ambulances of NAS from seven in 2004 to 161 in 2013 whilst increasing the staff strength also from 67 to 1, 1316 within the same period.
He said the provision of emergency care was an essential part of integrated health care delivery which required additional efforts to strengthen timely and effective delivery.
He urged Prof Zakariah to continue to organise in-service training and workshops to develop and strengthen the NAS Emergency Medical Care systems to improve the health of the populace as well as meet the expectations for access to emergency care.
Dr Agyeman Mensah appealed to the EMTs to be mindful of their attitudes while at work, respect their clients, handle the wounded well, and also take good care of the ambulances and their equipment.
“I will also urge you to be mindful of speed limits and other road users who ignore blaring sirens and will not give you way to arrive quickly and safely to health facilities in your quest to save lives”, he said.
Awards were given to deserving students with EMT Recruit Eric Adu was adjudged the Overall Best Student, EMT Recruit Confidence Aflo, the Best Student in Academics, and EMT Recruit Eugenia Gyapoma Obeng the Best Female Student.
EMT Recruit Musah Mohammed who was also the Parade Commander also decorated with the Best Student in Foot Drills.