OF NEW AMBULANCES AND COMMUNITY-BASED ERT PROFESSIONALS

 

Bravo Government! I have seen quite a number of ambulances parked on the large car park of the State House. I was happy when I saw them. A few years back we were told there were just a handful of operational ambulances for the lot of Ghana’s 24 million. Now thankfully the pressures will be reduced now. I did also see a convoy of fire tenders in town some weeks back. Hopefully those ones have been sent to fire stations across the country already unlike the ambulances which are still parked weeks after they were obviously ready to be distributed. Again, big ups to those who saw it through. Alban Bagbin may have made a mess of STX but I guess either him or Yieleh Chireh or both of them need a pat on their back for delivering these ambulances.

Having said this, I will want to share something I watched on an American TV series. Before that, we do agree that we have a lot of issues surrounding health care delivery in this country. I think that generally we use ambulances to carry dead bodies and not ill people. That is largely because the ambulances get to the source of calls late. We may blame that on the sheer impossibility of locating homes using house numbers and the terrible road networks we have (some of which have been blocked by more sensible people who need the road for a thing or two they consider more important).

In the TV series I watched on DSTV, I noticed that Emergency Response Team members after going through all the requisite trainings were equipped with all the need to administer first aide, i.e. medical kits, communication kits and all. These ERT members were spread across their communities and based on their location they are the first point of call to emergencies before the ambulances arrive. This way lives are saved and the medical delivery system gets a much needed lift.

I hope this is not an idea too far-fetched for our Ghana. We do have a lot of health related institutions churning out lots of professionals doing various things. Perhaps it would be a good idea if we considered the option of community-based emergency response health folks, not just in the villages but in our clustered cities and towns. Yes we may have some of these professionals already living among us but do they have the kind of training and equipment needed to effectively handle emergencies? I don’t know.

Training and equipment is crucial if this sort of thing is to work. A month ago we all witnessed how the DRC-born English player Patrice Muamba was effectively ‘dead’ for 78 minutes after collapsing during a football match. The speed of the emergency teams was phenomenal; secondly the medical teams were obviously well-trained to handle the situation; thirdly they had all the necessary equipment and medication needed to address the situation. Fast-forward to four weeks this weekend and an Italian footballer dies on the field of play. They probably had the training and equipment too yet the player died. My point, we will need to have adequately trained professionals if the ambulances and the idea I am ‘selling’ is to be successful. We will in the process be creating jobs for our folks as well.

Hopefully the days of taxis being used as the first point of call for emergencies will be over and we will gradually see an improvement in saving lives which would otherwise be lost unnecessarily.

My one pesewa.

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