Health Minister, Kwaku Agyemang Manu has hinted at government plans to stop Zipline Ghana drone delivery system from setting up new centers in the country over high cost of service charges.
According to the Dormaa West Member of Parliament, health facilities in the country which depend on the facility to fly essential medical drugs on time to their facility for critical management of cases are abusing the service which he said is milking government funds.
The Health Minister made the disclosure in Kumasi when he addressed stakeholders in the health sector during the First Senior Managers Meeting of the Ghana Health Service.
Expressing his frustration, the Minister said” every single request you make to fly to you comes with some huge cost so we said we are going to do essential service, very needed medications in a short time just in time. You don’t use the drone to drop medicine for you to stock. When they finished Omenako and I went there to commission the facility, I saw dewormers in their stock why will you want to fly dewormer, to be close to you?’’ he questioned.
He added “I’m engaging my big men to even stop them from setting up some new extra facilities, because we just cannot pay the cost that is coming in with fly me this amount fly me this amount fly me this. Ideally, we were setting up to fly things that if we don’t get in the next 10 minutes somebody will die and that is blood’’ he explained.
He further explained” we have our own supply chain of vaccines, now thanks to Covid-19 we have stock everywhere with cold rooms that can take every temperature across the country almost every region has got that type of facilities and we have our land Cruisers that can take in Vaccines from the airport to wherever, you are within a short possible time without any challenge so why should we fly vaccines’’ he said.
He indicated that “You see those running the drone service. I mean the drone scientists they came to install their infrastructures to make money from us we are not under any obligation to procure and make them have so much money when we don’t have anything. The agreement we have with them gives us a certain bench mark when we hit there in a month that is it. But the claims that are coming and we are seeing is a challenge’’ he stressed.
The minister therefore, charged managers of the various public health facilities to use the health review conference to discuss to control the situation.
“I will leave this to you to discuss how we can control this. I spoke to Albert about four days ago on how we can design guidelines and I want to expect that Dr. Kumah Aboagye will have a strategy. Regional directors should ensure that everything that you are flying gets authorization from somewhere above the facility level so that we control cost and expenditures. Other than that we will go nowhere. We need money to do several things. When you get into the health system you will never have adequate resources. What I mean is that things that we need to work with are so numerous. So if we put all our resources into just one small area it means we are neglecting the rest and we cannot work efficiently so let us take a good look at that area and how best we can change them’’ he pleaded.