One troubling disease is kidney failure, which, according to the experts, means the strength of the kidneys has fallen by 85-90 per cent, so they do not work well enough to keep you alive.
There is no cure for kidney failure, but dialysis and kidney transplant are the two treatments available to make it possible for patients to live a long and normal life.
Studies have shown that even though the burden of kidney failure, also known as End Stage Renal Disease, is higher among people of African descent, yet majority of Africans, including Ghanaians, are less likely to donate a kidney or receive a transplant.
That means the orthodox option left for Ghanaian patients, for example, is the dialysis.
The dialysis is supposed to rid the body of unwanted toxins, waste products and excess fluids by filtering one’s blood and make the patient able to lead normal life.
Two most common causes of kidney failure are high blood pressure and diabetes, even though the kidneys can also become damaged from other diseases and disorders as well as physical injury.
Meanwhile hypertension and diabetes are major health problems in Ghana, with hypertension in particular marked as a leading cause of admissions and deaths and Diabetes Mellitus causing 3.39 per cent of total deaths in the country.
Considering these facts, it is expected that at least major hospitals in the country should have dialysis centres to take care of kidney failure patients on or close to their doorstep.
This is why the Ghanaian Times is worried that the Bolgatanga Regional Hospital in the Upper East Region has no haemodialysis centre to manage patients who suffer from kidney failure.
Therefore, patients in the region have to travel to Tamale Teaching Hospital, in the Northern Region, a driving distance of 162 kilometres or 101 miles, to get treatment and inability to do so has cut short the lives of some of them.
It is said, for instance, that 15 of such patients died last year due to their inability to travel almost every other day for dialysis in Tamale, where they had been referred for the lifesaving support.
We know the government is doing well to provide infrastructure and other facilities in the health sector to ensure the good health of the people.
The upgrading of existing hospitals and the Agenda 111 project to build 111 hospitals across the country are examples of the government’s efforts.
However, we think such facilities as centres for treating kidney failure and other most troubling diseases must be provided first and the Bolgatanga Regional Hospital must be given the most urgent attention.
This hospital can make money from serving both Ghanaian and other patients from Togo and Burkina Faso.
While we commend the various public health professionals, hospitals and organisations like the National Diabetes Association-Ghana creating awareness about hypertension and diabetes, we encourage them to take the campaign to the youth the more due to the negative lifestyles of some of them.
It is said that kidney failure does not happen overnight and symptoms usually show up later in the progression of the disease, so the youth need more education as they are next in line to take up leadership on all fronts of the country’s economy to ensure national development