Danger: Kidney related diseases alarming – Dr Kotey

Kidney related diseases are assuming epidemic proportions in Ghana, as more than 12,000 cases are reported annually, says Dr. Solomon Kotey, President of the Ghana Association of Doctors in-Residence (GADOR).

In addition it is estimated that about 30,000 patients are living with kidney related ailments and have the potential to increase beyond manageable proportions, if the trend continues.

He has, therefore, called on managers of the country’s health care delivery system to pay critical attention to the trend in order to reverse it.

“This figure of 12,000 could be an underestimation as it represents figures collected from only health facilities with the capacity to diagnose such ailments. It could well be that figures from the rural areas and peri-urban are not captured because most facilities found in those areas lack the capacity to diagnose the disease,” he explained.

Dr. Kotey who disclosed this to the Ghanaian Times on the sidelines of the official launch of the Dialysis Service Foundation (DSF), said, the rate at which persons who visit the hospital with other ailments get to be diagnosed with kidney related issues was not only alarming but also frightening.

According to him at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital alone, three out of every ten persons who visit the facility are often diagnosed with one kind of kidney problem or the other.

“The issue is that it is not a one off something but it has become a daily feature of cases reported at most facilities with the capacity to diagnose the ailment and I am worried as a physician consultant who sees such occurrences regularly,” he stated.

Dr. Kotey who doubles as the Medical Advisor to the DSF said about 30,000 people currently suffer from kidney ailments and the only available remedy for such people was undergoing dialysis or kidney transplanting.

However, in Ghana undergoing dialysis remains the only option since it lacked the capacity to conduct kidney transplant.

Dr. Kotey said even though undergoing dialysis was the only option for persons diagnosed with the ailment, there were only 28 dialysis centres across the country making it 1000 patients to a centre.

Apart from the fact that there are only 28 centres the cost of GhȻ250 per a session made it very expensive for people to access the services of dialysis.

“It is important that we encourage government and other stakeholders to increase the number of dialysis centres in the country so as to increase access and also reduce cost.”

On his part a former Chief of Staff, Dr. Prosper Bani described the disease as an “orphan” that receives very little or no attention from society.

He said kidney disease was killing people on daily basis and the statistics available were not only shocking but alarming.

Dr. Bani therefore commended the brains behind the setting-up of the foundation to provide support to persons who suffer from the disease.

“Many have died because they were unable to afford the cost of dialysis treatment and even those who are able to afford the cost of the treatment, the emotional and psychological burden is unbearable,” he added.

Mr. Dela Agbo, Chief Executive Officer of Eco Capital Investment Management Limited and a cofounder of DSF said the motivation to establish the foundation was due to the fact that there was no government funding for the disease.

He said the foundation among other things would look after the well-being of needy people with kidney disease by giving them hope and confidence to make their lives more meaningful, and support research that would help prevent, treat and cure kidney and other kidney-related diseases.

By: Cliff Ekuful

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