Home » Dialysis Patients in Ghana Struggle to Afford Life-Saving Treatment

Dialysis Patients in Ghana Struggle to Afford Life-Saving Treatment

by Victor Adetimilehin

The high cost of dialysis treatment in Ghana is putting many lives at risk, as patients with kidney failure struggle to pay for the procedure that removes waste products and excess fluid from their blood. Dialysis is a form of renal replacement therapy that is needed when the kidneys are unable to perform their function. However, it is a costly treatment, and many people in Ghana cannot afford it.

According to Dr Grace Ayensu-Danquah, a dialysis expert at Sage Medical Centre in the East Legon area of the Greater Accra Region, the high cost of dialysis is mainly due to the exchange rate between the Ghanaian Cedi and the US Dollar. She explained that the equipment, drugs, and consumables required for dialysis are all imported, and no African country manufactures kidney treatment drugs at the moment.

Dr Ayensu-Danquah supported the call made by Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital for an increase in the cost of dialysis, suggesting an increase from GHS 380 to GHS765 for a three-day treatment session in the dialysis machine. She said that the hospital was subsidised by a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), which highlights the need for external support to make this essential medical treatment more accessible to those in need.

The proposed increase in the cost of dialysis at Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital has been met with outcry from the public, who are concerned about the affordability of the treatment. Some people who rely on dialysis treatment at the hospital expressed their fear that they would die if they could not pay for the treatment. Some celebrities have also spoken out against the price increase, urging the government to include dialysis under the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to make it more affordable.

The Ministry of Health has warned the hospital against implementing the proposed increase, saying that it is illegal and has not been approved by Parliament. The hospital has, however, disclosed that it has met with patients privately to discuss the fees and that it has resumed its routine operations at the dialysis centre after receiving a consignment of renal consumables.

Kidney-related diseases are on the rise among younger individuals in Ghana, particularly those between the ages of 30 and 40. This is in contrast to the western world, where the disease is more prevalent among older individuals. The disease is also more common among people dealing with high blood pressure and diabetes.

Dr Ayensu-Danquah emphasised the importance of timely waste disposal by the kidneys to prevent the disease from becoming severe, especially when waste accumulates in the brain. She also urged the public to adopt healthy lifestyles and to seek regular medical check-ups to prevent kidney failure.

She concluded by mentioning that there are some initiatives to promote kidney transplantation in Ghana, which would be the best method of renal replacement therapy. She said that kidney transplant was conducted successfully in Tanzania with the help of Japanese experts and that similar efforts could be replicated in Ghana with the collaboration of the government and the industry.

Source: Ghana Web

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