The Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, has said that Ghana will by September 2018 use drones to distribute blood and other essential medicines to remote parts of the country as part of efforts to ensure quality healthcare delivery.
Speaking at the 2018 Annual Health Summit in Accra, the Vice President said the government would sign a Memorandum of Understanding this week to put the technology into effect.
“By the grace of God; there are ongoing discussions, we are looking at innovative ways to deliver blood supplies as well as essential medicines to remote areas. As the rains come in, some areas are going to be cut off… Do we allow mothers to die because we can’t have blood supplies or essential medicines? Ghana this week, will be signing an MOU and by the middle of this year or by September, we will join Malawi and Rwanda with using drone technology to deliver blood supplies and essential medicines. So we are going to do that this year,” he said.
Although Dr. Bawumia did not give details about the arrangement, he emphasized that the government was keen on introducing other innovations to boost the country’s health sector.
In Ghana, the rate of maternal mortality continues to be a major source of worry especially for health practitioners who believe many of the deaths, particularly in rural areas, could be avoided if essential medicines and blood are made available to women in labour.
Rwanda is among the few African countries working with US-based automated logistics firm, Zipline International Inc. to deliver blood and vaccines by drone on demand to patients including women in labour in rural communities.
This is reported to have saved thousands of women from death as a result of haemorrhage during childbirth.
Meanwhile, Dr. Bawumia has also promised that the government has initiated processes to procure 275 ambulances to be distributed to each constituency.
“You cannot have a national ambulance service without ambulances, it becomes a problem. So the government has through the Ministry of Special Development Initiatives, which works with the development authorities, begun the processes of procuring ambulances for every constituency in this country, and we have 275 constituencies so we will procure 275 ambulances, all of which will become a part of the national ambulances system to help in the development of health services”.
Among other things, he stressed that the government will also recruit up to 10,000 nurses and health assistants through the Nation Builders’ Corps which will be launched on May 1, 2018.