Editorial: We applaud NAS, Florida University collaboration but …

The management of the National Ambulance Service (NAS), in collaboration with the University of Florida and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), has introduced MotoMeds to enhance healthcare at night.

MotoMeds, according to a story we published yesterday, is a free paediatric telemedicine and medication delivery service designed to prevent pre-emergent illnesses from transitioning into emergencies at night when children are most vulnerable and isolated.

Addressing a news conference in Accra, this week, the Chief Executive Officer of the NAS, Prof Ahmed Nuhu Zakariah, applauded the University of Florida for embarking on this project.

Explaining how the system works, an official from the University told journalists: “When a child gets sick at night, their parents or guardian calls the dedicated MotoMeds hotline. Our specially trained NAS Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) will conduct a telemedicine assessment over the phone to develop an initial patient assessment, then one of the EMTs is sent out to deliver the medication to the child.”

The telemedicine, which is currently limited to Jamestown and Ussher Town communities, has, according to the said official, has helped over 300 children since November last year. To ensure a healthy economy, the health of the population must never be undermined. The Chronicle is, therefore, happy that such a laudable project has been initiated by the two institutions.

Our prayer is that it will gradually be extended to all parts of the country to save the lives of children who would have, otherwise, died from preventable diseases. But much as we appreciate this collaboration with the Florida University to ensure efficient healthcare delivery for our children, we do not think this must lead to the relegation of the core mandate of the NAS.

Through the efforts of the government, all the 275 political constituencies have, at least, one ambulance. The idea is to bring healthcare delivery to the doorsteps of the people, most of who are living in hard-to-access areas. Unfortunately, the hopes of the people have been dashed, because majority of them do not have access to ambulance services when the need arises.

There are several reports that when people fall sick and the Ambulance Service is called, they are ignored with excuses that they (NAS) do not have fuel in the vehicle. Indeed, a couple of months ago, we used this very column to express concern over a similar development that occurred in the Volta Region.

The NAS was not set up to cater for only the affluent in society – it is meant for all Ghanaians, irrespective of their financial standings. To deny the people whose taxes were used to import these ambulances the right to use the service is, therefore, very unfortunate. In our opinion, if the claim of not having fuel is really the true reflection of the situation on the ground, coupled with allegation that money is requested for fuel, then it is rather very unfortunate, and must be investigated by the NAS.

We cannot be shouting on top of our voices that each of the 275 constituencies has an ambulance, yet its services are not satisfactorily made available to the public. We hope the Minister for Health will make a direct intervention to ensure that the ambulance services are made available to every Ghanaian.


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