Parliament approved the medical drone agreement on Tuesday
Vice President of the Ghana Medical Association, Dr. Titus Beyuo has accused the government of misleading the public that the GMA has earlier endorsed the drone project.
He was surprised government would take a comment passed by a leading member of the association at a forum to mean consultation and endorsement.
Deputy Information Minister, Pius Enam Hadzide had at a press conference on Wednesday claimed the GMA is being inconsistent with the $12.5 Fly Zipline contract.
He said the General Secretary of the GMA, Dr. Justice Yankson had approved the drone project government said would ensure effective health care delivery in the country especially in rural areas.
“Well, for us as an association, on countless occasions, we have bemoaned the state of emergency medical service in the country, so if efforts are being made by the government to ensure we strengthen that aspect of our healthcare delivery, then we say kudos,” he quoted Dr. Yankson as saying in April this year.
But Dr. Titus Beyuo contested the information put out by government, stressing in an interview on 3FM Midday News, Wednesday, that what Dr. Yankson said “doesn’t amount to endorsement or constitute a consultation”.
He wondered, “Will you consult a stakeholder on an important issue by just mentioning it at a summit?”
The GMA Vice President reiterated the Association’s position on the drone project, which it said does not conform to the existing primary healthcare policy in the country.
“We have not said that the drones are bad, but the emergency response is paramount; without ambulances, without emergency calls centres, without proper referral system, the drone stand alone is not a panacea”.
Dr. Beyuo asked, “If you send a drone to send blood to a Community-Based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) centre, who is trained at the CHPS centre to give blood?
“…per our current structure, at the primary level, no worker at the primary level has the technical and professional competences to give blood or manage blood reactions.”
Parliament on Tuesday gave approval to Government to go ahead to pay US-based Fly Zipline Inc $12,527,000 to distribute medical suppliers across the country with their drone equipment over a period of four years.
Dan Soko is a short story author and web content editor. He has work appearing or forthcoming in over a dozen venues, including GhanaScoop, Nigeria Daily News and CapitalBay. When he’s not frightening strangers with his post and writing, he’s most likely frightening his wife Mimi and their two mischievous cats: Buttons and Snaps. You can visit him at www.ghananation.com/author/webby.