A total of 14 outpatients of the renal unit at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital have died after the unit was closed to them in May 2023, the Renal Patients Association has revealed.
A spokesperson for the Association, Michael Asante, told journalists at a press conference in Accra on Monday that the deaths were caused by the patients’ inability to access dialysis treatment at private dialysis centres, which is more expensive than the treatment offered at the hospital.
“As we speak, the renal unit has been closed since 22 May 2023 up to date to outpatients,” Asante said. “Patients have gone through turbulent times as we struggle to finance our dialysis treatment at private dialysis centres across the centres. Unfortunately, during this shutdown period, we have lost about 14 of our friends…This has left the rest of us living in constant fear for our tomorrow. This is because we do not know who amongst us will be next to lose their lives needlessly.”
Asante appealed to the government to waive the costs of dialysis treatment for renal patients and to include these cases in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
The Ministry of Health has also condemned the management of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital for increasing dialysis fees without proper recourse to Parliament or the ministry’s approval.
Kidney failure patients who visit the Renal Unit of the facility for dialysis sessions were being charged a new fee of GH765 from an initial fee of GH385.
The ministry summoned the management of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital to explain why the new fee was introduced without going through due process. The hospital has come under intense criticism after reports of the review of its dialysis charges.
In an interview on Eyewitness News on Citi FM on Friday, the Public Relations Officer of the Ministry of Health, Isaac Offei Baah, described the review of the fee by Korle-Bu management without approval as “illegal.”
VOICE OF Michael Asante