Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia
At least 148 medical supplies have been earmarked to be distributed by the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVS), otherwise known as drones, in remote areas of the country.
A breakdown of the medical supplies to be handled by the soon-to-be operational drone distribution centres and delivery vehicles includes 83 essential medicines, 13 blood products and 10 vaccines, in addition to programme drugs.
The essential medicine list under the technology-driven medical service also catalogued medications for malaria, dog and snake bites, infections, allergic emergency and asthmatic attack.
Adrenaline injection 1mg/mI (1:1000) for allergic emergency, aminophylline injection 250mg/10ml for asthmatic attack, ampicillin injection 500mg for severe infection, anti rabies vaccine injection for dog bite, anti snake serum injection for snake bite, artemether injection 40ml/ml for severe malaria, artemether Injection 80mg/ml for severe malaria, artesunate injection 60mg for malaria emergency, artesunate suppository, 200mg for malaria emergency and artesunate suppository 50mg for malaria emergency made the list for the first 10 medicines to be delivered by the drone technology.
Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia has been championing a drone-driven medical service in the country since his announcement of the use of the drone technology in the health sector earlier this year.
Subsequently, a $12m contract for the design, installation and operation of the UAVS has been awarded through sole sourcing to Zipline International Incorporated following an approval from the Public Procurement Authority (PCA) and a bill of good health from the National Security Council Secretariat.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of PCA, AB Adjei, stated, among other things, that “we also noted the rather strong argument put up by the Service Provider to justify their pricing; indicating that the price offered to the Ministry of Health is comparable to prices for similar operations in other jurisdictions.
However, the minority in parliament has rejected the agreement, citing the fact that it was sole-sourced and downplayed the significance of the service agreement, calling it a “misplaced priority”.
The Minority Spokesperson on Health, Joseph Yieleh Chireh, said the amount involved in the agreement could be used to provide healthcare service for persons in deprived communities.
“The amount of money we are going to spend to deliver these items could have been used to provide access to many people in terms of healthcare of facilities. In any case what is the terrain of this country such that you will need drones? It is a misplaced priority. We have not reached a place yet in Ghana where technology drives everything.
“The challenges we have in our health system don’t need drones. People are dying not because there are no drones to deliver the medical supplies. They are dying because the supplies aren’t available in the first place,” he pointed out.
Parliament, on Monday, deferred the approval process for the agreement on Monday to allow for some regulatory checks to be completed before the agreement is approved by the House.
By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri