20 December 2018

Ghana: Drone Service Won't Be Paid By Taxpayer - President Akufo-Addo

Photo: Zipline
A Zipline drone launching at 100 km/h.
press release

The use of drones to supply essential and lifesaving medical supplies in the country will not be borne by the taxpayer, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has assured.

However, Corporate Social Responsibility contributions from private sector players, the President indicated, would be used to pay for the service. To this end, he assured that the programme would not be run on the public budget.

President Akufo-Addo gave this assurance on Wednesday, when he addressed the end of year media encounter at the Jubilee House in Accra.

Lately, the opposition NDC Party, including other civil society organizations had criticized government over the implementation of the drone project, describing it as unimportant, expensive and a drain on the taxpayer.

The project, which is the world's largest drone network, would have four distribution centers, from where the drones will be operating from, and will be stocked with 148 lifesaving and essential medical supplies and not only blood.

The President explained that the drone delivery service would save lives, decrease wastage, and guarantee healthcare access to more than 14 million people nationwide, with more than 200 Ghanaians being employed.

Furthermore, "the procurement process will enable every constituency to get one ambulance each in the early part of next year. This will not solve the ambulance problem immediately, but it certainly shows more commitment to finding a solution than we have ever seen."

Government's payment of GH¢1.2 billion arrears it inherited from the previous government, President Akufo-Addo noted, had enhanced the operations of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and brought "life" into the service once again.

He said that the NHIS has introduced two technical innovations, designed to make it more accessible to its members and also improve upon the financial management.

The two, a Mobile Membership Renewal Service and the generation of E-Receipts to track payments, are designed to streamline the operations of the NHIS and to make it more efficient.

The NHIS Mobile Membership Renewal service allows NHIS members to check policy validity, NHIS medicines list and benefit package and most importantly renew membership with the use of a mobile money wallet on any simple mobile phone, via a dedicated USSD code *929#.

Source: ISD: (Rex Mainoo Yeboah)

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