Kidney Patients Death Toll Jumps To 19

…As Korle-Bu OPD Dialysis Unit Remains Closed

More outpatients receiving treatment at the Renal Dialysis Unit at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH)in Accra continue to lose their lives, as the center remains shut for outpatients’ services, despite several pleas to management to reopen it.

The Out-Patients Department (OPD) has been closed to patients for six months now, forcing huge financial burden on many and leaving those who could not afford dialysis services elsewhere at higher fees to succumb to death.

At a press conference yesterday in Accra, the Renal Patients Association said five more of their members have died, bringing the death toll to a total of 19, within the last six months the unit was shut.

The dead were said to be part of those who used to receive their treatment at Korle-Bu before the closure, but could not raise the needed funding for dialysis at private facilities.

Some of the patients, whose conditions are deteriorating,  have told the media, they see death approaching them each and every day.

They indicated that, life has become unbearable for them, given the height of the situation, saying it has been very challenging as they have become beggars and a burden on their families and relatives.

One of the patients, Ms. Lorinda, 34, who has been on the treatment for nine years, said ever since Korle-Bu closed the center she has to travel a long distance from where she stays all the way to Winneba for treatment.

However, because of financial challenges, she had to reduce the number of times she receives the treatment from three times in a week to once.

“I have to travel long distance from where I stay to Winneba, and because of the money issues I do it once in a week, which is the situation at hand for now,” she said.

On her part, Ms. Abigail Ohenewa Mintah, 27years, who has been on the dialysis for seven years, said the situation has left them to beg friends and families all the time.

“This situation, every time biaa you are begging for support for dialysis treatment. It’s been six months since Korle-Bu has been closed and from that time up till date, I’ve been going for dialysis once [a week] and it’s been affecting my health,” she pleads.

The Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in May 22,this year, shut down the Renal Unit to outpatients, even though in-patients have access to the facility, leaving the outpatients to struggle for their lives.

According to the management, the reason for the shutdown to the outpatients was that there was a delay in the delivery of some consumables.

But the Renal Patients Association, whose members are bearing the impact of the closure, are, for the second time, calling on government and management of the hospital to hear their plight and re-open the renal unit for outpatient services.

The nation’s premier hospital recently increased the cost of its renal dialysis treatment from GH₵380 to GH₵765.42 per session, with many asking why the treatment is still not included in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

This means that, a patient who previously received treatment three times a week will now have to cough up some GH₵2, 296.26 a week and GH₵9, 185.04 a month to be treated for kidney dysfunction.

But after a massive public backlash, following the announcement of the new fee, management led by Dr. Opoku Ware Ampomah, the chief executive officer, hurriedly made a U-turn, claiming the new fee was just a proposal, and it has to be sent to Parliament through the Ministry of Health for approval before its implementation.

This was after the public relations officer (PRO) of the hospital, Mustapha Issifu, had earlier fiercely justified and defended the increment on Joy News on Tuesday, September 26.




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