GHANA – The Renal Patients Association of Ghana, a registered non-profit organization promoting kidney health in Ghana, has urged the government to ensure that the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) benefits all renal patients, rather than just a few.

These sentiments were expressed during an interview with the Ghana News Agency by Mr. Baffour Kojo Ahenkorah, President of the Renal Patients Association of Ghana.

Mr. Ahenkorah stated that while NHIS coverage was encouraging, limiting support to only a few patients was inadequate, as many patients were dying due to a lack of financial resources.

He highlighted that nearly all renal patients were cash-strapped and could no longer afford treatment, making comprehensive coverage essential.

This call comes in response to the increased cost of dialysis from GHC 380 (US$26.29) to GHC 491 (US$ 33.97)  at Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital on May 13, which was approved by Parliament.

Mr. Ahenkorah argued that the increase in dialysis fees was excessive and would worsen patients’ predicaments, noting that renal patients would not be able to pay GHC 491 (US$33.97), up from the previous fee of GHC 380 (US$26.29).

The Renal Unit at Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital was closed in May 2023 for partial renovations before reopening in October at a higher treatment cost.

However, due to patient and public protest over the hike in treatment costs from GHC 380 (US$26.29) to GHC 765.42 (US$52.96), the hospital quickly closed again, although intensive care was available for emergency cases.

Mr. Ahenkorah stated that implementing the price increase would make renal patients unable to afford treatment.

He added that even if renal patients were required to pay GHC 100 (US$6.92) every week for the next ten years, they would be unable to do so because dialysis is a lifelong issue.

The Association plans to meet with the Parliamentary Select Committee on Health when the House resumes on May 17, 2024, to discuss the issue, as many lives are being lost due to the current situation.

Meanwhile, in a separate interview, Dr. Aboagye Da-Costa, Chief Executive of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), announced that the government would soon disburse GHC 2 million (US$138,386.54), approved by Parliament, to provide dialysis treatment for those in need.

These funds, granted in March, were in response to renal patients’ appeals for government support following the increase in dialysis costs.

Dr. Da-Costa noted that the committee formed to implement the disbursement had completed its report and would begin distributing funds to various hospitals over the next two weeks, expressing hope that the payout would provide some relief to patients.

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