Korle Bu Teaching Hospital Denies Fee Hike for Dialysis Services Amid Controversy

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By Abdul Wahid Zaahida

Accra, Ghana – October 6, 2023: Authorities at Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, one of Ghana’s premier medical facilities, say there is no increase in fees for dialysis services at renal unit…yet.

Dr. Opoku Ware Ampomah, CEO of Korle Bu said in an interview cited online by Citi TV’s Umaru Sanda, that the new charges were a proposal under discussion that came from the Renal Dialysis Unit.

The charge modification was made, according to him, as a result of rising operational costs, equipment upkeep, and a lack of qualified dialysis technicians. The increase, he explained, is required to maintain the level of care being offered.

“But in this instance, what happened was that [the proposal] had reached the head of the department level but somebody jumped the gun to put out this notice but internally, when this was noticed, a memo was sent from the director of medical affairs directing [the Renal Dialysis Unit] to take it down and wait until approval had been granted before instituting new charges but unfortunately, because somebody had gone there and taken a photo which went viral, it then appeared as if we had instituted it,” he is quoted as saying.

Viral Photo

In a move that raised concerns among patients and healthcare advocates, social media went viral last week with news that Korle Bu Teaching Hospital had announced that it has more than doubled fees for dialysis treatments.

The substantial fee hike for dialysis services impacts a vulnerable population of patients already grappling with the burden of chronic kidney disease. The news therefore elicited strong reactions from various quarters.

The new pricing structure included a 100% increase in the cost of each dialysis session, with patients now expected to pay GHC 765.42 per session, up from GHC380. For many patients who require multiple sessions per week, this change threatened to place an unbearable financial strain on their already compromised livelihoods.

Photo courtesy of Ghana Report

Dialysis is a life-sustaining treatment for individuals with kidney failure, and access to affordable dialysis is essential for their well-being. Advocacy groups and patients alike voiced concerns that the fee hike will further limit access to this critical treatment, potentially leading to dire health consequences.

Speaking on the issue, Kwame Ansah, a patient undergoing dialysis at Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, expressed his distress: “This price increase is a heavy blow to those of us already struggling with kidney disease. It feels like a matter of life and death, and we implore the authorities to reconsider this decision.”

In response to the outcry, stakeholders, including healthcare professionals, patient advocacy groups, and government officials, engaged in discussions to find a balanced solution that ensures continued access to essential dialysis services while addressing the hospital’s financial challenges.

KBTH CEO Dr. Opoku Ware Ampomah then explained to Citi TV’s Umaru Sanda that the new fee was only a proposal.

Concerns about the potential impacts on patients’ lives and wellbeing are at the forefront of the conversation regarding the ongoing controversy surrounding the rise in the hospital’s dialysis fees at Korle Bu Teaching Hospital. More conversations and actions are anticipated in the coming weeks as the healthcare sector and the impacted patients seek to address this important issue.

Renal Unit Shutdown – 14 dead

On October 3, a group calling itself the Association of Persons Suffering from Renal (Kidney) Failure, revealed to Ghana Report that 14 of its members have died following the shutdown of the Renal Unit at the KBTH since May this due to what hospital authorities said was a shortage of renal consumables.

Micheal Asante, a dialysis patient, seaking on behalf of the association at a press conference, said:

“As we speak, the Renal Unit has been closed since 22nd May.. Unfortunately, during the shutdown period, we have lost 14 of our friends…he told the media”.

Mr. Asante urged the government to make the National Health Insurance cover the treatment of dialysis.

“The government must ultimately revise policies on the NHIS to cover costs of dialysis or to heavily subsidise it,” he said.

2 thoughts on “Korle Bu Teaching Hospital Denies Fee Hike for Dialysis Services Amid Controversy

  1. We plead with the government to do something about this. Some citizens are struggling to make ends meet and now treatment for dialysis is high. Hmmm what a country we live in. We pray for good health because that’s the ultimate now.

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