Kidney Patients Beg Churches
…For Financial Support
By Gifty Arthur
The Renal Patients Association of Ghana has issued a clarion call to Ghanaian churches and other religious organizations, calling on them to donate generously towards their medical treatment as government works to find a permanent solution for their predicaments.
President of the association, Baffour Kojo Ahenkorah, said it is becoming increasingly difficult, to survive under the current arrangement where they are required to pay GH₵380 per session for their treatment.
According to him, it will not be out of place for these churches to come to assist because most of the patients are members of these churches.
“Right now, what we are trying to do, we are looking at the civil organizations. I mean the private organizations – the churches we are begging them that they should help us, they should come to our aid.
Please we beg them – the Agyin Asares, the Light House, the Pentecost Church we beg them all of them should all come to our aid if all give us small small, it will help if not the government alone cannot do this which we know,” he pleaded.
This appeal is coming at a time, management of Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, through the Ministry of Health, is also calling on Parliament, to seek approval for its proposed GH₵765 fee increment per session, a controversial suggestion that generated a lot of conversations last year.
In an SOS message, the association has called on all churches, including Perez Chapel, Light House Chapel, International Central Gospel Church (ICGC), and the Pentecost Church to donate to their care in the meantime.
Their call follows a recent disclosure that Ghana’s premier hospital has again accumulated GH₵2 million debt after government settled a previous GH₵4 million, to re-open the Renal Dialysis Unit.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Korle Bu, Dr. Owusu Ware Ampomah, says the facility keeps incurring losses because of the current undercharging fee.
The CEO told journalists the charge is not sustainable and called on Parliament to treat the matter as urgent to approve the new fee in order keep the Unit running to save lives.
But reacting to the matter on JoyNews ‘The Pulse’ programme, Mr.Ahenkorah said they have opted to turn to the churches because the association understands government cannot foot their bills alone.
He charged the Christian Community to look at the laudable example of the First Sky Company, which has been donating huge amounts of money to support treatment of kidney patients for about a decade now.
“So we beg the civil organizations, the private companies like First Sky alone has been able to cater for us for seven (7) years, one person so why the big big churches Action Chapel, Mensa Otabil all of them should come to our aid and most of the people too this where they attend churches so please we wish that you rant us air time to come to your and make appeal to them that we beg that they should come to our if not the way things are going now if this place is closed again we don’t know what is going to us,” he explained.
Dialysis on NHIS
Touching on a more sustainable funding for the patients, Mr. Ahenkorah said they support calls for government to put the treatment of kidney disease on the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) as permanent solution.
He said this can easily be done if government decide to end the capping of the Scheme and give all the moneys raised from taxes to fund it activities. He said the boss of the Scheme has admitted publicly that funding the disease is possible provided the money is made available.
“While we are looking at the NHIS, in the meantime, the churches should come and help us because Dr Okoe Boye said that they can do it. He said it on Citi TV, I was there. Okoe Boye said that if government wants to do it they can do it, it’s doable is only that you know that the National Health Insurance Scheme is capped. If it is not capped and the money is given to them directly, he said that we can do it. He said Kenya is doing it.
“He also suggested another way to fund the treatment of kidney disease by allocating the COVID-19 levy as another source of funding.
“Now, this COVID levy that we are paying, the COVID is gone so they should use the COVID levy to save people’s lives. That is another suggestion we can put across,” he said.
On this funding sources, he said they have tried to court the attention of the Health Minister, Kwaku Agyemang Manu, for discussion but on two occasions, they were denied, as officials informed them he was unavailable.