Medical drone deal suspension would cause judgment debt – Ayine
General News of Saturday, 15 December 2018
Former Attorney General, Dominic Ayine
Former Attorney General, Dominic Ayine, has refuted a call by the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) for the medical drone deal to be suspended.
The Bolga East Member of Parliament says although it was wrong for the controversial agreement to be approved by Parliament without the GMA’s input, the call for suspension may be misplaced.
“I don’t agree with them because if you look at the agreement itself, in accordance with its own internal logic, there is no provision made for suspension.
“So if there is a unilateral suspension, for instance on the part of the Ministry of Health, then that could be counted as an event of default…and in that case it means it would trigger dispute resolution, and subsequently if we are found wanting…then you can be sure that we can be made to pay a judgement debt,” the MP said.
He notes for instance that the Ghana Health Service (GHS) and the contractor, Fly Zipline Ghana, can mutually agree to suspend the deal to allow for the consultations with the GMA.
Government through the Ghana Health Service has purposed to introduce drones to deliver blood and other essential medical medicines to clinics, hospitals across the country especially in remote areas.
The contract signed with Fly Zipline will see four distribution centres sending blood and these medicines to hospitals on request within a time frame of 15-40 minutes.
The Director General of the Ghana Health Service Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare who has been at the forefront in defending the policy has explained that the drone deliveries are just a way of introducing efficiency in the supply of blood and medical supplies systems across the country.
The deal has been projected to cost $12.5 million for four years.
Shortly after the policy was approved by Parliament, the GMA, one of the implementation agencies, called for its suspension, claiming that the drone policy was at variance with the primary health care delivery system in the country.
While the Association said it was not against the use of technology in its service delivery it insists the drone delivery services are not a priority.
“The proposed services to be provided by the drones do not conform to the primary healthcare policy in Ghana where different levels of care have different capacities to perform specific functions.
“The use of drones without the necessary improvement in the human resource capacity will not inure to the benefit of the country in its quest to improve healthcare delivery,” the GMA said.
Deputy Information Minister, Pius Hadzide, has said consultations with GMA and implementation of the project will go together.
Dr Ayine also doubted the government’s claim that a study on the medical delivery system in the country backs the need for a drone system,
“Sovereignty resides in the people and we are the representatives of the sovereign people of this country. If there was such a study that established quite clearly that this is the kind of solution that would have to be proffered in order to resolve the kinds of problems that the Director of the Ghana Health Service identified, then that should have been made available to the people’s representatives.
“And I believe that the discourse on this matter would probably have been different if the study had been made available…it appears that the study is not available. So the Director of [Ghana] Health Service is probably not telling the people of this country the truth or he has some alternative facts out there that are not being made available to us,” the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) MP said on Newsfile.