Accessing emergency care, drivers must change attitudes

Kumasi- Some drivers involved in a project seeking to address maternal health mortalities in Ashanti Region are calling on emergency health care professionals to exhibit attitudes of urgency when receiving emergency referrals or other cases.

They said the lackadaisical and indifferent attitudes that they were met with from health professionals, when they transport patients needing prompt emergency response to health facilities, could be blamed for the needless loss of lives.

The drivers made the submission at a stakeholders meeting in Kumasi to discuss how best to transport pregnant women to health facilities early enough, as part of the Transport Union Support Services (TUSS) project.

The project, which seeks to eliminate delays in accessing healthcare by pregnant women, was piloted in selected districts in Ashanti between 2014 and 2017 by the Regional Coordinating Council (RCC), Ghana Health Service (GHS) and transport unions.

The RCC, as part of the project signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the unions, which enjoined taxi drivers to transport pregnancy-related cases to the nearest health facility and make claims for the transport fares later at the District Assembly.

In situations, where the transportation cost involved was insignificant, such drivers were rewarded at the lorry terminals, where they worked, by enjoying certain privileges such as; loading passengers without waiting for their turn for the rest of the day.

After a year’s recess of this laudable initiative, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), has been at the forefront of the fight against maternal mortality, providing funding for the resumption of the project in the Region.

This informed the decision by the RCC to hold a stakeholders meeting to discuss the challenges, lessons learnt and best practices from the previous project to strategise the way forward.

Sharing their experiences during the meeting, the drivers criticised some of the health workers for paying little attention to them when they arrive with emergency cases at the facilities.

They said their sense of urgency towards the patients left much to be desired even in the face of a critical situation and called for attitudinal change to avert preventable deaths.

They also decried the poor nature of roads, which contributed to the delays in reaching the facilities as well as the refusal by other motorists to give way during emergencies because taxis were not recognised emergency vehicles.

Mr. Isaac Kyeremateng, the UNFPA Focal Person at the RCC, underlined the need for stakeholders to be guided by the lessons learnt during the previous project to improve on service delivery.

He said the maternal mortality rate recorded annually in the region was unacceptable and required the collective efforts of stakeholders to address the perennial problem head-on.

Source: Ghana News Agency