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Ghana’s Parliament is divided over agreement on drones for health materials distribution

Both sides of Ghana's Parliament did not agree on the cost and the necessity of a service to be rendered.

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There is a disagreement between Ghana’s Majority and Minority in Parliament over the consideration to use drones to distribute essential medicine to remote areas of the country.

Both sides did not agree on the cost and the necessity of a service to be rendered.

The Minority Leader in Parliament Haruna Iddrisu said the cost of the project was too high. He added that remote areas need health facilities and medical officers and not drone services.

The Minority also questioned why the project was to be given on contract to Fly Zipline Ghana Limited on a sole sourcing basis when value audit had not been conducted on the project.

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They therefore asked that the agreement be withdrawn since they would not support it.

However, the Majority said government would bear no financial cost of the project since corporate entities had agreed to fund the cost of the project.

They argued that the use of drones would ensure efficiency in the distribution of essential drugs and blood to remote areas and also prevent avoidable deaths.

The MPs were debating the report of the Health Committee of Parliament on the service agreement between the government of Ghana, represented by the Ministry of Health and Fly Zipline Ghana Limited, for the delivery of emergency health and blood products to public health facilities in Ghana.

The Chairman of the Health Committee, Dr Kwabena Twum-Nuamah, entreated Parliament to approve the service agreement since it would facilitate the delivery of healthcare across the country.

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But after the debate, the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Mr Joseph Osei-Owusu, who was chairing the sitting, deferred the approval of the agreement.

He explained that there was no information on the regulatory requirements regarding the approval by the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority and the National Security for the use of the drones.

Mr Osei-Owusu asked the Health Committee to get the information on the regulatory requirements and report back to the House before its approval.

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