“Every day at the emergency department of the Korle-bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH), we realize not less than three cases of terminal kidney diseases coming in,” a doctor at the Renal Department of KBTH has revealed.
This according to the practitioner, Dr. Emily Kotey, is a disturbing development since most of the patients with kidney complications are unable to pay for treatment of the disease thereby hanging a death sentence on their neck.
Speaking on Accra based TV3 to mark the World Kidney Day (WKD), Dr. Kotey said; “Kidney disease is actually very serious in Ghana…it’s even more alarming because the cost treatment of the diseases is not very accessible to a lot of people so they end up dying.”
According to Dr. her, the cost of a session for dialysis, worldwide cost $100 which is she adds has been the case for the past five years.
“We have been charging about GH₵260 per session when the dollar was $1 to GH₵2.60…the dollar keeps increasing but we can’t increase the cost because even at the GH₵260 they [patients] can’t afford,” she noted.
She explained a patient needed about three sessions a week to stay alive which according to her is inaccessible to many.
In Ghana over 12,000 people are diagnosed with the disease every year with a whooping one-third of the cases, resulting in death.
When asked about the cause of continuous increases in the disease, Dr. Kotey said, the inability to manage diabetes and hypertension results of kidney failure.
“This happens when people are not taking their medication or are not following dietary restrictions, they are not stopping the alcohol, they are still smoking…the diabetes and the hypertension end up affecting their kidneys and the kidneys eventually shuts down,” she explained.
Health experts worldwide are worried about the high rate of kidney disease. 850 million people worldwide are now estimated to have kidney diseases from various causes.
Every year on March 14, countries mark the day to create awareness of the high and increasing burden of kidney disease and the need for strategies of kidney disease prevention and management.
This year’s commemoration is anchored on the theme; ‘Kidney Health for Everyone Everywhere’.
By Grace Ablewor Sogbey