Editorial: Ambulance services are not meant for only the rich!

A man who describes himself as Gati Promise on facebook has narrated a pathetic story of how Ghana Ambulance Service refused to pick a boy of about five years who was critically ill from Ziope Clinic in the Agortiume-Ziope District in the Volta Region to access emergency medical care at Ho, the regional capital.

According to Mr. Gati, the vehicle he was travelling on was stopped by a nurse at Ziope and the driver was requested to send the boy, who was almost unconscious, together with his mother to Ho to seek urgent medical attention. The facebook post further alleged that when he enquired from the nurse why they did not call for an ambulance, her response was that they called, but they (Ambulance Service) were yet to respond.

Gati Promise, who displayed pictures of the ailing boy on his facebook wall and his personal telephone number, further alleged that when the vehicle got to Kpetoe, he realised that the ambulance was parked at the station. But when he went to the station to request that the boy be rushed to Ho, the officers surprisingly refused to do so.

The writer further alleged that when he called the regional office of the Ghana Ambulance Service, they also told him that he had to go through protocol before the ambulance would be dispatched to pick up the boy. His story did not explain how the boy was finally sent to Ho to seek medical attention.

First of all, since The Chronicle does not know Gati Promise, we cannot a hundred per cent rely on his story. But if the pictures of the boy and mother attached to the story are anything to go by, then it calls for a full scale investigation by the National Ambulance Service.

Quoting the nurses at the Ziope Clinic, Gati alleged that the refusal of the Ambulance Service to respond to emergency calls was very common, and that a number of people had died as a result of that bad attitude.

The Akufo-Addo administration decided to procure ambulances for all Metropolitan, Municipal and District assemblies at great cost to the tax payer to ensure easy access to healthcare.

Unfortunately, the reason for the procurement of these hi-tech vehicles is not being met, because those in charge think the poor tax payer has to beg them before they render their constitutionally mandated services. In fact, apart from the Ziope incident, The Chronicle has picked several reports across the country that people are dying avoidable deaths because they fail to have easy access to the Ambulance Services.

There are even unconfirmed reports that some of the ambulances have been turned into hearses, conveying dead bodies from the mortuary to funeral grounds, instead of carrying seriously ill people. Why should this be happening in this modern age?

We believe if it was a high profile personality in the Ziope-Agortime District who had fallen sick, the Ambulance Service would have responded quickly when they were called, but because the call came from a poor woman, who obviously cannot part with any money, they refused to do what they have been employed to do.

The Chronicle insists that the ambulances were not procured for decoration purposes, but to help promote health services. This is the reason why The Chronicle is calling on the National Ambulance Service headquarters to show particularly interest in this sad story and get to the bottom of it.

All over the world, one does not need to go through the protocol process, as we are being told in the Ziope case, before an ambulance service is made available to him or her. All what one needs to do is to call the emergence number, and the service would be at your beck and call. We suspect that because the headquarters of the Ghana Ambulance Service has not been descending heavily on its personnel who flout the law, they keep on meting out some of these ill treatments to the poor in our society. This is very sad!


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