July 13, 2024
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Renal Patient Association calls for kidney care fund in 2024 budget

The President of the Renal Patient Association of Ghana, Baffour Kojo Ahenkorah, has suggested to the government the creation of a special fund for renal care in the country.

He proposed that this fund be included in the 2024 budget, which will be presented in Parliament next week.

This proposal arises following the Ministry of Finance’s approval of GH¢4 million to settle the outstanding debt of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital’s renal unit.

In an interview with Eyewitness News on Citi FM, Ahenkorah stressed the importance of incorporating national health insurance for renal patients, emphasizing its potential as a sustainable solution to reduce mortality rates in the unit.

“The government needs to intervene at this time. The GH¢380 we are currently paying has remained the same for years. If this continues, the government may need to subsidize almost GH¢1 million every month.”

“Now, the question is, can this be sustained? Can the government continue to provide this support every month? If it can, then hallelujah. But the fact remains that even the GH¢380, we as patients were unable to pay; someone else was covering the costs for us. So, the government needs to examine this issue. If they decide to incorporate it into the national health insurance, so be it. They should work out the details so that it can be covered by health insurance, preventing patients from suffering in the event of a closure, where patients would face dire consequences.”

He highlighted the necessity of government intervention, citing examples from countries where dialysis is provided for free.

Ahenkorah proposed alternative solutions, such as integrating it into the health insurance system or allocating quarterly budget funds to support the renal unit.

“The way forward is for the government to step in. In some other countries, and while Ghana may not directly compare itself to them, dialysis is provided free of charge. Even if you are affluent, the cost of dialysis can quickly deplete your financial resources. Therefore, governments need to take a critical look at the situation and expedite the necessary actions. Whether they choose to include it in the health insurance or allocate funds in the budget, perhaps on a quarterly basis, to support the renal unit for treatment. This approach would likely be the best solution because this is an issue that nobody can manage on their own.”

The Renal Unit at Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, which had closed its doors to outpatients for six months due to a GH¢4 million debt owed to dialysis suppliers, has now reopened.

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