The Ho Teaching Hospital has established a fund to expand the dialysis unit to provide the needed care for persons suffering from kidney or renal disease.
Dr John Tampouri, Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Hospital, said kidney patients faced high mortality, and that there should be “a way to support people to undertake dialysis at a sustainable cost.”
The CEO was speaking at an event to mark World Kidney Day and also to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Hospital’s dialysis unit.
The event was on the theme: “Kidney Health for Everyone,” and attended by the leadership of the Teaching hospital, personnel of the Kidney Centre, stakeholders in the pharmaceutical industry, religious and traditional leaders.
Dr Tampouri said the kidney occupied a special place in the medical profession and that stakeholders must team up to provide the best of care.
“The mortality rate in relation to kidney patients remains high and it means we are not doing well enough. We must ponder on how to move forward. Dialysis treatment must continue,” he said.
Professor Yaw Asante Awuku, Head of Medicine at the Teaching Hospital, said one out of ten cases in the medical wards was chronic kidney disease-related and that only 50 per cent of persons with end-stage kidney disease could afford hemodialysis treatment.
He said the data revealed that about 60 per cent of patients only heard of chronic kidney diseases after diagnosis.
Prof Awuku said the Unit had screened over 2,500 people for kidney diseases and placed a total of 175 patients on dialysis.
He said the Unit’s two functional dialysis machines were overworking and that more was needed to meet the demand.
The Head of Medicine noted, however, that kidney patients with underlying conditions, including HIV and hepatitis, had to be referred to Korle-Bu for care as the local dialysis equipment could not cater for those.
“We need a renal fund to support hemodialysis care,” he said, adding that the cost of care made it inaccessible for many with a minimum of GHC 4,000 a month for dialysis alone.
Prof Awuku said hemodialysis personnel were few as the Teaching hospital remained the only facility in the Region offering the service, and called for the establishment of centres of excellence across the county would help.
He said kidney problems haunted infants, who suffered diarrhoea and vomiting, and also infections, and advised that such conditions were handled with care.
The doctor also advised care when administering some medical drugs to children citing the risk of damage to the organ.
He advised periodic screening, saying “a single test can detect whether you have kidney disease or not.”
Dr Lord Graceful Mensah, Ag. Director of Medical Services at the Teaching Hospital said stakeholders must seek ways to develop potential dialysis for children, as it caused them to suffer psychological distress.
“We must do something collectively as a society to make sure kidney problems became a thing of the past by instituting preventive measures to help our patients,” he said.