The Ghana Health Service has mounted a spirited defence for the drone health service delivery system despite mounting criticism and allegations of fraud by the Minority in Parliament.
Director General of the Service Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare said the new policy is in line with the vision of providing quality health service to every Ghanaian no matter where they are.
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According to him, the new policy is part of efforts by the service to use ICT to improve efficiency in the health care delivery system in the country.
The Minority Spokesperson on Finance Cassiel Ato Forson, chided the Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, whom he accused of perpetrating fraud on Ghanaians.
“…The vice president is leading Ghana into the path of unrighteousness. The vice president is leading Ghana to commit ourselves to a deal that will be woeful to the finances of this country.
“In fact, he is going to cause financial loss to the state, because the document presented to Parliament is nothing but fraudulent,” he said.
He argued the government by agreeing to this deal is ready to pay $1 million for a drone which was selling at $100,000.
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“Each distribution centre is bringing a drone and actually the cost of the drone is one million dollars. I have done a quick analysis and specification of the drone. What we have here clearly indicates that the cost of a drone cannot exceed $100,000. Now, something that is costing $100,000 or less is being sold at $1 million.
“It is not even fraud. It is criminal. It is thievery,” he alleged.
Critics have also raised issues about why the Fly Zipline company was sole-sourced for a project costing $12 million. They argue the amount may have been reduced if the contract had been subjected to competitive tendering.
Others have also wondered why the country is investing in drone deliveries when the ambulance service is all but collapsed in Ghana.
But Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare said the claims by the Minority are untrue.
According to him, the project is a “performance-based service contract” which means the company only gets paid for the number of deliveries done.
He said the government was not buying drones. It is only paying for the cost of deliveries and services.
If you want blood in a remote area and it is raining, and you cut off, the drones can supply the essential drugs and service you need.
These are services we will be paying for even if drones are not used.
“If the company makes less than 15 deliveries there will be no payment. If it is from 15 to 50 deliveries they are paid $11,000 per month. If they deliver 150 deliveries per day they get $88,000.
He said the company had to be sole sourced because it is the only company providing such a service and challenged persons who know of any other company providing such a service in the Africa sub-region to name it.
Under the procurement law, goods and services can be sole sourced if the supplier is the only company engaged in that business.
On the issue of investing in ambulances rather than in drones, Dr Nsiah-Asare said: “If you don’t have ambulances, so you will not give blood to a woman who is dying because she doesn’t have blood?
“If you don’t have ambulances so you will not treat somebody who has a snakebite and want to give anti-snake venom…” he argued.
“Health is not politics. You can sit here and politicize everything but when you are sick you don’t show your party colour. It is when you are in the village and bitten by a snake then you know what we are talking about,” he added.