The distribution of blood, blood products and some 148 essential and emergency drugs through the use of Remotely Piloted unmanned Aircraft System (RPAS) otherwise known as drones would be launched in the 2nd quarter of 2019.
To this effect, the construction of the first of four distribution centres to be established across the country is nearing completion.
The centre, located near Suhum would be expected to serve Eastern and Greater Accra Regions as well as some parts of the Ashanti, Central and Volta Regions.
This was contained in a speech read on behalf of the Director General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr. Anthony Nsiah-Asare at the 2018 Annual Upper West Regional Health Sector Performance Review at Wa.
Dr. Nsiah-Asare said the use of drones formed part of his vision to restructure the Ghana Health Service to ensure a more comprehensive use of modern tools, technology and innovation to enable Ghana achieve its 2030 target of guaranteeing that all persons are able to access healthcare easily.
The Service has also employed the use of telemedicine in all regions, the roll-out of the eTracker for CHPS and Health Centres as well as Logistic Management Information Systems and Hospital Information System in some selected hospitals.
Dr Nsiah-Asare expressed optimism that the new innovation would help the service better deal with some challenges like management of the medicines and non-drug supplies.
He explained that the Ghana Intergrated Logistic Management Information Systems (GHiLIMS) for instance, would among other things create a supply chain management system that would enable routine administrative and commodity data to be generated in real time across the country.
It would again emphasize the coordination of commodity management reporting for all supply chain levels as well as programs.
Touching on the Ghana Maternal Health Survey Report conducted in 2017 and the Multiple Indicator Custer Survey 2017/2018, the Director of the GHS mentioned that the health service had done well in recent times.
Neonatal mortality has moved from 29 per 1000 live births (LB) in 2014 to 25 per 1000 LB in 2017. Again, infant mortality had declined from 41 per 1000 LB in 2014 to 37 per 1000 LB in 2017 while under five mortality rates had also gone down from 60 per 1000 LB in 2014 to 52 per 1000 LB in 2017.
Maternal mortality ration currently stood at 310 per 1000 LB; a situation Dr. Nsiah-Asare was confident would improve in the coming years.
To boost morale, ensure effective monitoring and implementation of health policies, Dr. Nsiah-Asare mentioned that the GHS was still working with its partners to ensure that all district are given pickup vehicles while sub-districts are provided with motorbikes.
For his part, the Upper West Regional Director of Health Services, Dr. Osei Kuffuor Afreh expressed worry about the high malnutrition rates in the region.
He disclosed that about 50 percent of mothers who had their blood levels checked at 36 weeks (term) were anaemic; a situation he said had serious implications for both mother and child.
He also pleaded with various stakeholders to help the service acquired “Motor King Ambulances” to aid referrals from one health facility to another.
Annual Regional Health Sector Performance Review at Wa was on the theme “the role of quality data in achieving universal health coverage.”
It attracted health staff from the various district and municipals, traditional and religious leaders as well some development partners of the health service in the Upper West Region.
Story by Mark Smith