Health Minister, Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, has said although he cannot justify the procurement of a luxury four-wheel drive over the purchase of an ambulance, each of the vehicles is important.
His comment on the Super Morning Show on Joy FM Monday was in response to rumours that government plans to purchase luxury four-wheel vehicles for Parliamentarians amidst a severe dearth of ambulances to improve the country’s failing emergency healthcare system.
His response that the decision to purchase either an ambulance or a luxury vehicle depends on what the immediate need has been criticised by some as unbecoming of a health minister in the face of a myriad of challenges in the health sector.
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The host of the Super Morning Show, Daniel Dadzie, asked the Minister: “Would you say the need for a [Toyota] Land Cruiser is more important than an ambulance?”
The Minister responded: “It depends on what you are using it for. It depends on what you are using it for.”
The show host pressed on further: “So there are situations where ambulances are less important that V8 [engine vehicles]?”
The Minister said: “I won’t be able to say that. I don’t think so…I won’t be able to justify that.”
Eight-year lack of investment
Available statistics show that there are only 54 functioning ambulances covering a nation of almost 30 million people.
This, coupled with what has been dubbed “no-bed syndrome,” where patients are turned away by the hospital due to lack of beds, remains a major setback in the healthcare system.
However, Kwaku Agyemang-Manu says the current challenges in the health sector have been caused by an extended period of lack of investment.
“Almost all the current ambulances that are in the system are the VW type of vehicles. These were procured during President Kufour’s era. After him, eight good years, no investment have been made. So what do you expect?” he quizzed.