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Opinions of Sunday, 4 November 2018


Why we need more ambulances

If you wear a political lens to read this article, you are likely to get disappointed. This article is based on pure reasoning and nothing else.

I’m a journalist and I write not only to entertain, inform or educate people - I speak for the voiceless in the society. I write and speak for those who cannot write or speak about issues that affect them. I’m the Member of Parliament for the ordinary people on the streets.

I was on duty Saturday, November 3, 2018, when the information on the accident involving the Deputy Communications Minister, Mr George Andah in his constituency in the Central Region came through. It was gathered that he had been airlifted to the 37 Military Hospital in Accra for emergency care.

The vehicle in which Mr. Andah, together with others were travelling, collided head-on with another vehicle. The minister reportedly was initially rushed to the St. Gregory Hospital at Kasoa after which a military helicopter airlifted him to the 37 Military hospital.

When it was clarified that nobody died in the accident, I was extremely happy. Our minister didn’t die. We recently lost our former Vice President, Kwesi Amissah Arthur and our former United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan and we haven’t recovered fully in our mourning and so it will be an added pill of sorrow if we had lost our dear minister.

Although our minister didn’t die in the accident, I was also extremely sad. The reason for my sadness was very simple—I was sad because hundreds of Ghanaians have died from what happened to the minister and because they didn’t get the needed emergency services such as ambulances on time to send them to hospital for emergency care, they died.

Hundreds of people have died in our communities due to lack of ambulances to transport them to hospital on time for emergency treatment.

Many expectant mothers have died with their babies in their wombs due to delay labour as a result of lack of ambulances to transport such expectant mothers to the hospital for assisted labour.

No life is important than others. Every life matters and if the government could immediately dispatch a military helicopter to airlift a minister involved in an accident for emergency treatment but could not provide ordinary car ambulances for our pregnant mothers and the vulnerable ones in our communities, to the point where some die with their babies in their wombs, I have every cause to be worried.

On May 6, this year, citinewsroom reported: “29 million Ghanaians share 55 ambulances.” The report said out of the 155 ambulances that Ghana has, 100 of them have broken down. I was shocked to the marrow.

The story said the 55 are shared among the 10 regions in the country, with the Greater Accra Region leading with nine ambulances while the Central Region had the least of two. There are 130 ambulance service stations in the country, and each is supposed to have at least one ambulance to offer emergency responses.

The minister, Mr Andah, was airlifted probably because there was no ambulance in his constituency to pick him up to the 37 Military hospital. Assuming it had happened to an ordinary person, a taxi or a commercial vehicle would have been used to pick up the person to the nearest hospital due to the absence of state owned ambulances. It is sad.

Nobody cares about the ordinary person on the streets. Nobody thinks about the poor. Nobody thinks about the vulnerable voters who queue for long hours amidst scorching sun to vote for them. But when they (politicians and duty bearers) find themselves in the very situation that sends thousands of other Ghanaian citizens to their early graves, they do everything possible within their power to save themselves.

Some roads in Ghana only get constructed when a political figure or an influential person dies on it or gets involved in an accident on it. Several people can die that same road but that road will never get done until either the grandson, girlfriend, or former girlfriend of a duty bearer dies on it before it attracts the attention of the people responsible for repairing it. This is not a measure of civility. It is something else.

If government can provide aircrafts to airlift ministers for emergency services, we the ordinary people in Ghana don’t need aircrafts to serve as ambulances for us, we just need car ambulances on the ground.

Let us get serious with things that affect our life. Life is only one. If you lose it, you can’t get it back. Maybe we are not getting angry enough as people in this country to get duty bearers to get things done as they are supposed to be done in any human society. We can all fall victims.

Before you think about a political party, think about yourself. You worth more than a political party.