40 children die yearly of kidney failure due to high cost of dialysis

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The Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), Ghana’s second-largest health referral facility, records 150 cases of children with kidney disease yearly.

Out of this, close to 40 of them, whose ailments are at the acute stage, lose their lives, Professor Sampson Antwi, Head of the Paediatric Nephrology Unit, has disclosed.

He said most parents of the ailing children were unable to afford the high cost of dialysis (the process of removing waste products and excess fluid from the body).

According to him, in most cases, medical doctors and nurses had to foot these bills in order to save the lives of the children suffering from this disease.

Prof. Antwi, made this known at the official launch of the Association of Parents of Children Living with Kidney Diseases, at a ceremony in Kumasi.

It coincided with a fund-raising for the Paediatric Nephrology Unit.

Kidney disease is a condition whereby the kidney loses its ability to sufficiently filter waste from the blood.
The idea of the establishment of the Fund and the Association by the Unit, according to the authorities, aimed to support children with kidney failure to get dialysis and kidney transplant.

The cost of chronic haemodialysis costs GH ₵250 per session, with a minimum of three sessions per week totalling GH₵750, and GH₵3000 per month.

Prof Antwi stated that when laboratory investigations were included, medications cost GH₵ 25,000 in six months and GH₵50,000 per year.

Kidney transplant is estimated to cost US$50,000, he hinted.

Prof. Antwi said medically children with kidney disease could be treated when they were given early treatment, explaining that the Fund when matured could bear that cost and also help save their lives.

Prof Baafour Opoku, Medical Director of KATH, said being diagnosed with kidney and its management posed a huge challenge to the children and parents.

He said they hoped to develop and establish an ultra-modern Paediatric Transplant Programme to detect kidney diseases early enough and to ease the burden on parents.
On behalf of KATH, he donated GH₵5,000.00 to the Fund.

Dr. Anima Sarfo, Medical Officer at the Unit, and Vice-President of the Association, said in 2014, they observed a worrying trend where children between the ages of two and 14 presented were at the end stage of kidney failure.

This resulted in complications leading to deaths, she noted, adding that parents must strive to bring their children to the Hospital first if they noticed any change in their health.
She said medical science had a solution to such anomalies.

Dr Sarfo called on individuals and philanthropists to contribute to the Fund to help save the lives of these children for them to live normal lives.

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