Authorities at the National Ambulance Dispatch Centre are lamenting the growing number of prank calls on their lines.
Officials of the centre say about 98 percent of the over 500 calls they receive each day are from people without any genuine need for emergency service.
The head of the centre, Matilda Nartey, told Citi News that the situation could lead to persons genuinely in need of emergency services being deprived of the service.
She warned that persons involved in such activities should desist from such acts.
“In a day we receive more than 500 calls and out of the 500, I can tell you 98% are prank calls and the 2% are genuine calls. Maybe it is because it is a toll-free number, so people want to abuse the system and this prevents others from getting access when they truly are in an emergency situation,” she said.
In Accra, there are 38 ambulance stations and one dispatch centre that controls the stations.
The centre receives calls on different emergencies and redirects those that do not fall directly under their operations. But officials of the centre say prank calls are one of their biggest challenges.
The centre is not the only one affected by the challenge of prank calls.
On Thursday, the Ministry of National Security urged Ghanaians to stop making prank calls to the emergency 999 anti-terrorism call centre.
It warned that these calls undermine the ability of law enforcement agencies to respond to actual crises effectively.
“Preliminary checks at the emergency call centres indicate that, in the first 30 hours following the launch of the campaign, over 10,000 calls have been made to the centre, of which the majority have been prank calls and calls to verify the operationality of the call line,” the ministry said.
This has led to “a development that has culminated in long call queues and delayed response to calls made to the centre,” it added.
Prank calls rise when students are on holidays
The Fire Service also has its fair share.
The Director of Public Affairs at the GNFS, Timothy Osafo-Affum, while speaking to Accra based 3FM said: “pranks calls are seasonal”.
He said on average, the two centres in Accra and Kumasi receive 22,000 to 24,000 prank calls a day.
“Prank calls to our centres are seasonal. It rises when students are on holiday, but it subsides when they are in school,” he said.