Government is to procure 716 ambulances for distribution to all teaching, regional, district hospitals in the country, to take care of emergency health care delivery.
About 50 of the ambulances would be ready for allocation by the end of April, this year to help reduce maternal deaths in the country and other avoidable deaths in emergency cases, including motor and fire accidents.
Mr. Alban Bagbin, Minister of Health, who disclosed this at the end of a two-day familiarization tour of some parts of the Northern Region, at the weekend in Tamale, said a rapid response team would also be instituted in health facilities, to man the ambulance service.
The tour, which took the minister to the housing and expansion project of the Tamale Teaching Hospital (TTH), West Hospital and Health Centers in Walewale, was led by the Northern Regional Director of Ghana Health Service, Dr Akwesi Twumasi, Dr Ken Sagoe, Chief Executive Officer of TTH.
Mr Bagbin said Government had put in place adequate measures to ensure that every district in the country had a well equipped health facility, to guarantee effective and efficient provision of health care.
He said: “The Government has started supplying poly clinics with state-of the art equipment to enable these facilities provide the primary health care and reduce the pressure on the teaching hospitals. The teaching hospitals will also be supported to produce oxygen to be supplied to the districts hospitals.”
Mr Bagbin reiterated Government’s commitment to improving the housing situation of health workers nationwide, to motivate them to accept postings to every part of the country.
On road safety, the minister appealed to the youth to desist from reckless driving and ridding without helmet to avoid accident.
Giving an overview of health care in the region, Dr Twumasi said 13 districts in the region lacked the necessary medical equipment.
He said more Community-Based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) had been established for easy access to health care.
Dr Twumasi said last year, the region received 500 motor bikes to support the campaign against maternal death, which was still high.
He lamented that maternal death rose from 88 deaths in 2010 to 130 deaths in 2011.
Briefing the minister on progress of the TTH expansion project, Dr Sagoe said the first phase of work, which was about 97 per cent complete, involved the construction of a new four-storey block and building to link the new block to the existing blocks.
The new block would be used for Accident and Emergency Centre, Diagnostic Imaging Unit, Labour and Delivery Suite, Operating Theatres and Intensive and Coronary Care units.
Dr Sagoe said the link building provides easy access to all levels of the new and existing buildings for ambulant, wheelchair or stretchered patients and visitors alike, whiles internal lifts in the new building are reserved for medical use.
“We are expecting that by November, this year, they would have finished the first phase and will be ready for commission,” he said.
Dr Sagoe said if the construction of the four-storey is completed, the hospital would have more than 600 beds.
He said that the establishment of the Magnetic Resonance Imaging at the hospital would enhance surgical operation and prevent patients from traveling to Accra to access such service. GNA