The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) is asking government to suspend the implementation of the drones for the supply of medical supplies.
According to the Association, the deal in its current form does not fit into the country’s existing healthcare policy.
President of GMA Mr Frank Ankobea in a statement said “The proposed services to be provided by the drones do not conform to the existing primary healthcare policy in Ghana, where different levels of care have different capacities to perform specific functions.’’
The statement further said Health should not be politicized and the health of Ghanaians is critical.
The GMA is not against the use of technology to improve healthcare in the country. However each single intervention proposed in this direction should not be seen as a panacea to solving our healthcare problems but rather as an augmentation to existing efforts.
The proposed services to be provided by the drones do not conform to the existing primary healthcare policy in Ghana, where different levels of care have different capacities to perform specific functions.
The use of drones without the necessary improvement in the human resource capacity will not inure to the benefit of the country in its quest to improve healthcare delivery.
Parliament on Tuesday approved the agreement between Ghana and Zipline Ghana Limited.
The agreement was approved on Tuesday by a majority decision with 102 legislators voting for the policy while 58 opposed it.
Per the terms of the agreement with the government of Ghana, Zipline will install, operate and maintain the drones.
The contract will run for four years and $88,000 will be used per a distribution centre per month when fully deployed.
Zipline is also guaranteeing an average emergency delivery time of less than an hour and at least 150 flights daily.
The drones will operate 24 hrs a day from 4 distribution centres across the country. The distribution centres will stock 184 lifesaving and essential medical supplies including:
Emergency blood and oxytocin to save women’s lives in childbirth. Postpartum haemorrhage is the leading cause of maternal death.
Emergency medicines for surgeries, severe infections, antivenins and anti-rabies, diabetic emergencies, extremely high blood pressure emergencies.
Zipline is also expected to employ 200+ Ghanaians, including pharmacists, engineers, flight operations, and many more essential and allied support staff.
Zipline will build a training centre in Ghana to support all of Zipline’s Anglophone West African operations.