The Akufo-Addo administration’s promise of one ambulance per constituency is being held up by procurement challenges, Minister of Special Development Initiatives, Mavis Hawa Koomson, has said.
Though Vice President Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia said procurement processes had begun back in April 2018, there has been little progress in the bid to improve Ghana’s dire Emergency Response Service.
The Vice President recently described the ambulance service as “basically comatose.”
The 275 ambulances are now expected in the middle of 2019, according to Mrs. Koomson.
“It was our intention to even have our ambulances by close of year , but looking at the procurement process, I believe that maybe by the first week in December and somewhere in May or June next year , the ambulances will be in this country,” she said at her ministry’s meet the press on Tuesday.
Explaining the procurement challenges, the Minister said “you cannot just get up and start using government money just like that. You have to go through procurement processes and it is very very difficult… You can use five months for just one project procurement so if we have 12 months in a year and we use five months for one project, how many projects can you do?”
“As we speak, the tender documents are out. We’ve gone through the PA [procurement Authority] the tender documents are out with the suppliers whiles we continue with the process,” she added.
The state of Ghana’s ambulance service has been described as critical as a country of 29 million people only has 55 functioning ambulances serving all 10 regions.
Ghana currently has 155 ambulances, 100 of which have broken down due to various faults, many of them engine-related.
The National Headquarters of the Ambulance Service in Accra has only four ambulances.
Per the regional distribution, the Greater Accra region has the largest allocation of the scarce resource, with nine, while the Central Region has the least number of ambulances, with just two 2, although there are 10 service centers in the region.