Fifteen out of 30 patients with kidney failure conditions at the Bolgatanga Regional Hospital passed away last year, a Physician Specialist at the hospital, Dr Emmanuel Akatibo, has disclosed.
He said due to the lack of a dialysis centre at the hospital, the patients, who were at the end stage of the disease, could only be referred to the Tamale Teaching Hospital (TTH) for the treatment, but all of them passed away.
“Since I started working in the hospital in March 2022 as the only Physician Specialist, the hospital has recorded more than 30 kidney failure cases, made up of chronic and acute kidney failures where the patients needed either a long-term renal replacement therapy or short course of dialysis to allow time for the kidneys to recover,” Dr Akatibo said.
Dr Akatibo, therefore, appealed through the Daily Graphic for the establishment of a dialysis centre at the hospital to provide services for kidney conditions.
The regional hospital is a major referral facility which receives cases from across the 15 municipalities and districts in the region.
The hospital also receives cases from the North-East Region and neighbouring Togo and Burkina Faso.
Dr Akatibo said: “What is very worrying is the fact that some of the patients who reported to the hospital were very young unlike the notion that the disease affected only the elderly some of whom needed kidney transplant to survive”.
He noted that referring kidney patients to the TTH was bothersome to the patients because of the attendant cost, distance, budget for an accompanying relative, among other inconveniences.
“When the kidney patients are referred to the TTH, they feel that they have been sentenced to death,” he said.
Dr Akatibo said a patient had to go through three dialysis sessions a week at GH₵350 per session aside from other medical expenses.
He explained that some of the patients could not continue paying for treatment, and died along the way, while those who pressed on were compelled to reduce the recommended three times of treatment a week to either once every week or once every two weeks.
A patient’s inability to adhere to the three times a week dialysis treatment made it very difficult to achieve optimum treatment, which often worsened their condition, he explained.
Dr Akatibo indicated that the hospital already had the critical human resource to manage a dialysis centre.
He said the hospital already had critical care nurses, physician specialists with interest in kidney diseases and other medical officers who could effectively manage the dialysis centre.
Dr Akatibo said setting up a dialysis centre was capital intensive, saying “looking at the prevailing economic situation in the country, it would be very difficult for the government to solely fund it”.
He, therefore, appealed to individuals, corporate entities, religious bodies and benevolent outfits to help the hospital establish the centre to serve kidney patients.