Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, has revealed that concerns about the cost of kidney dialysis in the country could be resolved through National Health Insurance Scheme.
He was speaking on the recent 100 per cent price hike from GH¢385 to GH¢765 for dialysis announced by the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital along with subsequent calls for the scrapping of taxes on dialysis consumables and the covering of the treatment under the NHIS.
The Information Minister suggested that, the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) should absorb some of the cost of dialysis incurred by kidney patients.
“Government is waiting on the management of Korle Bu to complete its internal work and come forward with what its position is. The conversation has been going on, and I personally suggested that whatever the amount comes to, the NHIS Fund should be able to pick up,” he said.
The Ofoase-Ayirebi Member of Parliament called for proper financing of the NHIS in order to cover part payment for kidney dialysis.
“Today, the non-Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) contributor is paying GHS28 as an annual premium, and the SSNIT contributor is paying GHS8 as an annual premium. This is woefully inadequate.”
“The NHIS levy that is collected on behalf of the NHIS Fund is not automatically remitted to the NHIS Fund. I believe that is something we also have a look at,” he added.
Mr Oppong Nkrumah also announced that no remittances have been made to the fund, describing the fault in taking money on behalf of the fund without paying remittances.
“We have never remitted 100% to the Fund since its introduction by former President Kufuor, I don’t think it’s honestly proper for us to collect monies in the name of the Fund and not remit those monies to the Fund”.
On another hand, the Renal Patients Association of Ghana, comprised of individuals with kidney conditions, have disclosed that fourteen of its members passed away between May and September while at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital.
The association attributed this to a shortage of consumables at the facility, resulting in a limitation of dialysis services to only emergency cases.
Spokesperson of the group, Michael Asante said the situation has instilled constant fear of death among many of them.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health has summoned management of Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital to discuss the recent price hike in dialysis cost.