Assessment of emergency medical services in the Ashanti region of Ghana
Background: We aimed to assess the structure, function and performance of Ashanti Region’s emergency medical services system in the context of the regional need for prehospital emergency care.
Design: A mixed-methods approach was employed, using retrospective collection of quantitative data and prospectively gathered qualitative data. Setting – pertinent data were collected from Ghanaian and international sources; interviews and technical assessments were performed primarily in the Ashanti Region of Ghana.
Participants: All stakeholders relevant to emergency medical services in the Ashanti Region of Ghana were assessed; there was a special focus on National Ambulance Service (NAS) and Ashanti Region healthcare personnel.
Intervention: This was an observational study using qualitative and quantitative assessment techniques.
Main outcome measures: The structure, function and performance of the Ashanti emergency medical services system, guided by a relevant technical assessment framework.
Results: NAS is the premier and only true prehospital agency in the Ashanti Region. NAS has developed almost every essential aspect of an EMS system necessary to achieve its mission within a low-resource setting. NAS continues to increase its number of response units to address the overwhelming Ashanti region demand, especially primary calls. Deficient areas in need of development are governance, reliable revenue, public access, community integration, clinical care guidelines, research and quality assurance processes.
Conclusions: The Ashanti Region has a growing and thriving emergency medical services system. Although many essential areas for development were identified, NAS is well poised to meet the regional demand for prehospital emergency care and transport.
Keywords: EMS, prehospital, ambulance, emergency, Ghana, Africa