Parliament on Thursday strengthened the National Ambulance Service (NAS) with the approval of a loan agreement to procure more than 150 ambulances and spare parts for the Ministry of Health.

The loan contracted between the Government of Ghana and the KfW Frankfurt AM MAIN of Germany, has a contract amount of Euro 10,900,000.00, with Euro 1,500,000.00 contribution coming from the Government of Ghana.

It has a one-year grace, a repayment period of six years and a maturity period of seven years.

A joint committee report presented by the Chairman of the Parliamentary Finance Committee, Mr James Klutse Avedzi, stated that the loan was contracted to reduce the loss of lives from avoidable causes largely due to delays patients encountered and the poor care they received before reaching hospital.

He said the most affected were children, pregnant women and victims of road accidents.

Mr Avedzi said currently, the fleet of ambulances in the National Ambulance Service (NAS) covered only twenty-four metropolitan and municipal areas, adding that the target of government, however, was to expand the service to cover all the districts in the country by the end of December 2012.

He said Ghana needed to build its ambulance capacity to 500 by the year 2012, to enable the country to take advantage of many international health sector interventions.

He said the ambulances to be procured would include VW Passat Ambulances with operating theatre and other life-saving facilities on board.

Mr George Kofi Arthur, NDC Member of Parliament for Amenfi Central, said in the allocation of the ambulances the rural areas must be considered first because they were the most disadvantaged when it came to ambulance services.

The NPP member for Asikuma/Odoben/Brakwa, Mr Paul Collins Appiah-Ofori, contributing to the debate, said the amount Euro 1,500,000.00 that the government was mandated to contribute to the loan was done in time.

Dr Richard Anane, NPP member for Nhyiaeso, thanked the government for continuing with the ambulance project which the previous Administration had started in 2004 to strengthen the National Health Insurance Scheme.

Source: GNA

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