Government has resolved to consult the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) on the controversial 12.5 million-dollar drone contract, following an intervention by the Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia.
Moments after the much-criticsed contract was approved by a parliamentary majority Tuesday, the GMA requested government to suspend the implementation of the contract that will see blood and other essential medical supplies distributed to health facilities across the country via drones.
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.
While the Association said it is not averse to the use of technology to improve healthcare delivery, it noted the services to be delivered by the drone technology do not conform to the existing primary healthcare policy in the country.
In an apparent move to by to avert challenges in the implementation of the deal, an emergency meeting between government led by the Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, GMA and Zipline was called on Wednesday.
According to the Information Ministry, it was agreed at the meeting that the Ministry of Health and the Ghana Health Service engage the GMA and other stakeholders in the implementation of the contract.
“The discussions were very fruitful and productive,” a statement from signed by Deputy Information Minister Pius Hadzide said.
It continued: “It was agreed that going forward, the Ministry of Health and the Ghana Health Service will engage in a process of enhanced consultation with the GMA and other stakeholders in the process of implementation of the drones for medical supplies project,”
However, the statement did not address the other concerns raised by the GMA and unclear whether the GMA has now given its full backing to the implementation of the contract.