The Ghana Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists (GAMLS) has said it is regrettable that the government through the Ministry of Health has initiated processes to have blood, among other medical supplies delivered nationwide by drones without consulting them.
This comes after the Public Procurement Authority approved a sole-sourcing contract request from government to engage a US-based firm for the design, installation and operation of an unmanned aerial vehicles (drones).
The firm, Messrs. Zipline International Inc, is expected to do delivery of medicines and medical supplies to health facilities across the country at the cost of $12,527,000 over a period of four years.
But Parliament declined to vote for the approval of the contract, directing the select committee on health to go back and revise the contract.
The Medical Laboratory Scientists are however concerned that as a major stakeholder, they were not consulted on the matter.
“Regrettably, GAMLS, the professional body solely responsible for the practice of Medical Laboratory Science in Ghana, was not consulted as a stakeholder when over 70% of the work in transfusion science and medicine is performed by laboratory scientists across the country,” it said in a statement dated December 5.
It again noted that “important policies and standards” need to be implemented in the country by the Standards Authority to “prescribe the workforce needed at each level of our health system”.
These, the Association mentioned as “the National Health Laboratory Policy (NHLP, 2013) and the GS ISO 15188:2017” ought to be implemented as soon as possible.
It further observed that the amount involved could be used to improve the health sector.
“The publication mentions a contractual sum of $4,224,000 to be paid per distribution site for the 4-year period. The money for one distribution site for the contract period could retool some existing blood banks, set up over 100 new blood banks across the country and employ qualified personnel to function,” the association said, while calling on the minister to do a broader consultation.