The Ghana Kidney Association, the leading professional body responsible for promoting kidney health through education on the prevention and treatment of kidney disorders in the country, is urging the public to prioritise kidney health by adopting a healthy lifestyle.
This includes diligently managing risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and avoiding the misuse of painkillers and herbs.
In a statement signed by its President, Prof Sampson Antwi, the association emphasized the importance of early reporting to hospitals for individuals diagnosed with kidney disease, as prompt medical attention can significantly slow down the progression of the disease.
Expressing concern over the recent coverage of issues related to dialysis, the association assured that they are actively engaging with stakeholders to address the accessibility and affordability of dialysis for the general population. The outcomes of these engagements will be communicated to the public in due course.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) is urging the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to broaden its benefits package to encompass critical illnesses, particularly kidney diseases, with the aim of reducing the financial burden associated with dialysis.
Dr. Francis Chisaka Kasolo, the WHO Country Director, emphasised that extending coverage to include renal treatment services would help alleviate the financial strain faced by patients, notably in light of the recent outcry regarding escalated dialysis fees at Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital.
Addressing journalists during an event in Accra, Dr. Kasolo highlighted the necessity for a comprehensive reevaluation of the NHIS operations.
He stated, “If our health insurance is strong, it can mitigate the cost of renal treatment services if it is included in the benefits package. This would have mitigated the out-of-pocket expenditures that we are beginning to see increase, and if that works, then we would have solved part of the problem of increasing out-of-pocket expenditure that we see with the dialysis cost.”
By incorporating renal treatment services into the benefits package, the NHIS in his view can potentially mitigate the financial burden on patients, offering a viable solution to the increasing out-of-pocket expenditure associated with dialysis costs.