General News of Sunday, 5 January 2020
Founding President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of policy think-tank, IMANI Africa, Franklin Cudjoe, has lamented the handling of ambulances procured by government for distribution to various constituencies of the country, insisting that even in some countries, ambulances meant to convey sick animals to the veterinary are not handled like the government is doing.
“See, in other lands, even ambulances for animals don’t get treated this way. I wonder why we cheapen life in Africa this way. Ambulances are supposed to be lifesavers, not for political fashion parades. If only the batches procured much earlier were readied and dispatched,” he argued in a social media post.
His comments are in reaction to appeals by the National Ambulance Service, amplified to the Presidency by the Health Minister for a postponement of the scheduled date for the commissioning of the ambulances. The scheduled date is Monday, 6th January 2020.
The National Ambulance Service has appealed for a postponement of the commissioning to enable it carry out among others the training of staff to man the ambulances, the attachment of tracking devices to the ambulances, the establishment of service centres for the ambulances among others.
These concerns, the Health Minister, Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, has argued in a letter appealing for a postponement to the President are grounds enough for a rescheduling of the much talked about commissioning.
A part of the letter read: “I forward to you a letter from the management of the National Ambulance Service making a request for the postponement of the Commissioning of the new ambulances. Having engaged them and listened to the reasons for the request for the postponement, I would like to add my voice for their request to be granted.”
The release of the ambulances to the constituencies has become a topical issue due to government’s insistence that it was not going to deploy the ambulances until the full complement of the 275 ambulances was procured and a formal commissioning by the President done.
Government has argued that deploying them in batches would lead to accusations of bias and favouritism but the letter from the National Ambulance Service seems to provide the real reasons why the ambulances have not been dispatched and why it might take even longer to do so.