Thursday, 18 April

Dialysis: Establish kidney fund to deal with rising cases -Jehu Appiah to gov't

Health News
Dialysis machine

Dr Jehu Appiah, the Medical Director at Rabito Clinic, has urged the government to establish a Kidney Fund to address the increasing cases of kidney failure in the country. 

He highlighted the prevalence of dialysis among Ghanaians due to terminal illnesses like diabetes and the widespread use of herbal bitters. 

Dr Appiah emphasised the need for the Kidney Fund to provide support for patients and potentially include dialysis in health insurance coverage.

He expressed concern about the high treatment costs attributed to consumables, exacerbated by the depreciation of the cedi against the dollar.

Despite the availability of dialysis machines in private hospitals, many patients resort to public hospitals due to the financial burden. 

Dr Appiah, a member of the National Democratic Congress's COVID-19 emergency response team, made these remarks during an interview with Odehyeeba Kofi Essuman on the Ghana Yenspom morning show on Accra 100.5 FM on Tuesday, February 13 2024.

"As members of the NDC, we will not wait for the NDC to come to power before we initiate ideas for the development of the health needs of the people," he said. 

In a related development, the Renal Dialysis unit at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH) faces a debt of GH₵2 million for treating kidney patients, just three months after settling a GH₵4 million initial debt. 

Dr Owusu Sekyere, the Director of Medical Affairs at KBTH, explained that renal patients only cover half of the dialysis treatment cost, leading to the accumulation of debt.

He revealed that the hospital incurs a cost of over GH₵720 cedis per dialysis, while patients pay GH₵380, creating a substantial funding gap.

Dr Sekyere hopes that Parliament approves their proposed fees to address the financial challenges. 

Meanwhile, Baafour Kojo Ahenkora, the President of the Renal Patients Association of Ghana, emphasized the financial strain on members, even with the current GH₵380 fee. 

He expressed concern that any price increase could jeopardise lives, citing the closure of the Renal Unit in May 2023, attributed to the removal of tax and excise duty exemption on medical consumables.

Source: Mensah