The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) says it still stands by its position on the controversial 12.5 million-dollar drone contract despite government’s resolve to begin broader consultation with its members.
Government Wednesday directed the Ministry of Health to begin broader consultation with the GMA and other stakeholders in the health sector following concerns raised by the Association, which called for implementation of the contract to be suspended.
The GMA members held that though they are a key stakeholder in the healthcare delivery in the county, the government did not consult them on the contract to be implemented by the US firm, Zipline International Inc.
It thus underscored the need for a broader stakeholder consultation on the issue to set some fundamentals before the implementation of the policy.
The GMA said as stakeholders in the policy, it is appropriate for that they offer their perspective on the matter even though they have not been consulted.
An emergency meeting chaired by the vice president Dr. Mahamamudu Bawumia Wednesday resolved to do broader consultation with the various stakeholders.
But Deputy National Secretary of GMA, Dr. Titus Beyuo said the outcome of their meeting with the government does not in any way mean they are backing off their calls for the suspension of the project.
While welcoming the decision by government to engage them, he told Accra-based 3FM Wednesday that “the position of the GMA still stands”.
He said the GMA expects government to come to the consultation table with “open mind to hear all the issues or challenges that everybody coming there will bring … and take a very well-informed decision”.
He said the Association is still waiting for the government to write to them specifying what form the “enhance consultations” will take.
“We have been informed that we should expect a written communication to that, this is a fallout from the meeting… so we are waiting for the official communication that will tell us the details of that enhance consultation”, Dr. Beyuo said.
The much-criticsed drone contract that will see US firm Zipline distribute blood and essential medical supplies to various health facilities in the country was approved by a parliamentary majority Tuesday.
GMA had raised concerns about a possible nonconformity of the drone service delivery with the existing health delivery policy of the country.
The Association also noted the technology per se would not solve the problems in the health sector without recourse to human resource development.
But government expressed shock at the posture of GMA, stating the association had earlier welcome the innovation when it was first announced.