A Renal Care Policy has been developed by the Ghana Kidney Association (GKA) to help address the causes, prevention, treatment and costs of chronic kidney diseases in the country.
The policy, which is yet to be presented to the Ghana Health Service (GHS), would also provide a framework for developing services to ameliorate suffering and deaths from kidney failure in Ghana.
Dr Dwomoa Adu, a Consultant Nephrologist at University of Ghana (UG) who made this known said the initiative was to curtail the high number of chronic kidney cases being recorded in the country annually.
He was speaking at a public lecture organised by the GKA in collaboration with the University of Cape Coast School of Medical Sciences (UCCSMS) as part of activities to commemorate this year’s World Kidney Day in Cape Coast on Thursday.
The lecture was on the theme “kidney health for everyone everywhere”.
The World Kidney Day is celebrated to raise awareness about kidney diseases, encourage preventive behaviours and to emphasise systematic screening of all patients with diabetes and hypertension for chronic kidney disease.
It was also to educate medical professionals about their role in detecting and reducing the risk of kidney disease and also to stress the role of local and national health authorities in controlling kidney diseases.
It was also to encourage transplantation as a best outcome for kidney failure and organ donation as a life-saving initiative.
Dr Adu said more than 7,000 Ghanaians developed end stage renal failure annually with 95 percent of them dying without treatment.
He said as per the statistics from the Renal Registry established by GKA in 2017, only 23.6 percent of Ghanaians who had been diagnosed of end stage kidney failure received treatment while lamenting that only five regions had haemodialysis facilities.
Dr Adu said six hundred and eighty-six (686) individuals were on renal replacement treatment as at December 2017, hence the need for more of such treatment facilities across the country.
He said the progressive decrease in the functioning of the kidney leads to chronic kidney diseases which as it worsened, would demand a dialysis treatment or a kidney transplantation
He said “Currently, our available option is kidney transplants, which is the best treatment for end-stage kidney disease, but it is not available in Ghana”.
He noted that the cost involved in treating kidney diseases was worrying, and often compelled some patients to resign to fate and therefore urged the public particularly those with diabetes and hypertension to undertake regular medical check-ups.
He said a kidney patient needed about GHS1,000 weekly for three sessions at the hospital for dialysis and treatment.
Dr Victoria Adabayeri of the Cape Coast Teaching Hospital (CCTH) called for a legal framework to guide the transplantation of kidney, heart and other vital organs in the country.
She decried the absence of kidney transplant surgeons in Ghana and appealed to the government to as a matter of urgency engineer the training of at least two surgeons yearly to position the country for the setting up of a Kidney Foundation.
Mr Thomas Vincent Cann, a journalist who had been diagnosed with the chronic kidney disease passionately appealed to the government to consider subsidising the cost of kidney treatment in the country.