The Bolgatanga Regional Hospital in the Upper East Region has set up a regional hospital Pooled Donor Fund to solicit GH¢ 813,900 for the establishment of a dialysis centre to manage patients who suffer from kidney failure and need renal replacement therapy involving dialysis to survive.
Dr Emmanuel Akatibo, Physician Specialist at the Department of Internal Medicine, Bolgatanga Regional Hospital, posted this on his social media platform sighted by the Ghanaian Times, appealing to individuals and corporate organisations to dip their hands into their pockets to help address this dire situation.
The medical equipment required for the establishment of the centre include haemodialysis machine, oxygen plant, defibrillator, dialysis catheter, ultrasound scan machine and water system.
The Bolgatanga Regional Hospital has no dialysis centre and patients who suffer from Acute Kidney Injury and end-stage kidney failure were referred to the Tamale Teaching Hospital (TTH), capital of the Northern Region, for the life support treatment.
Fifteen patients suffering from kidney failure died in Bolgatanga last year due to their inability to afford the cost of dialysis therapy and to undertake the 164-km journey to Tamale almost every other day.
The cost of dialysis session is GH¢350 and the patient required three sessions per week, amounting to GH¢1,050 and other associated medical expenses to go through the machine (artificial kidney) to filter the body of waste products since the kidney could no longer function.
“For those who developed Acute Kidney Injury (AKI), which has the potential to reverse to normal and needed dialysis support for the kidneys to recover, died because they couldn’t afford to travel to Tamale for such services. Most of these patients were young adults in their prime age, bread winners of their families who probably just needed two to four dialysis sessions to recover from the AKI but we just had to watch on helpless,” Dr Akatibo bemoaned.
Dr Akatibo attributed kidney failure to, among others, use of unapproved herbal preparation, high concentrated energy drink, adding that hypertension was the major cause of kidney failure.
He said out of those who had end stage kidney failure and needed long-term haemodialysis, only a few could afford to travel to Tamale, the nearest centre, for dialysis, adding, “this didn’t come easy for them at all, so some dropped along the way because they couldn’t keep up”.
Dr Akatibo, who is the only physician specialist in the hospital, also said that aside the cost of the dialysis and medications, which were expensive, these patients had to travel two to three times a week with a caregiver to Tamale for the dialysis, adding, “this puts extra burden on their families because some just had to stop working in order to be able to travel almost every other day for dialysis”.
“Due to the inconveniences and extra financial burden on them, some couldn’t maintain it and died along the way, those who could, had to reduce the recommended three times a week dialysis to either once a week or once every two weeks.
This worsened most of their conditions and affected their quality of life. Others had to entirely relocate with their family to Tamale, Kumasi and Accra in order to have easy access to dialysis centres,” he added.
The Bolgatanga Regional Hospital is the major referral medical centre for all the 15 districts and municipal hospitals as well as other private health facilities, and attends to emergency cases from neigbhouring Burkina Faso and Togo.
BY SALIFU ABDUL-RAHAMAN