In May 2023, the renal unit at Korle Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH) made a crucial decision to cease outpatient dialysis services due to the soaring expenses of dialysis consumables. This move compelled patients to seek dialysis treatments elsewhere, mainly resorting to private hospitals or facilities.
During an interview on JoyTV, Dr. Owusu Sekyere, the Director of Medical Affairs at KBTH, emphasized the financial strain the facility faces as renal patients cover only half of the total dialysis treatment cost, leaving the remaining expenses unmet and accumulating debt.
The approval of revised fees is deemed essential to alleviate the financial burden on the renal unit and ensure continued access to essential dialysis services for patients.
Dr. Sekyere explained, “The cost of Korle Bu Teaching Hospital performing one dialysis is well over GH₵720 cedis, and patients are paying GH₵380, so there is a difference of about GH₵380 or GH₵400 that needs to be looked at.”
He further elaborated on the financial challenges, revealing that accumulated debts amount to GH₵6 million due to various factors, including exchange rate fluctuations.
On September 27, a partial reopening of the unit occurred, accompanied by an announcement of a surge in dialysis treatment costs per session from GH¢380 to GHS¢765.42. However, following public outcry, the price hike was swiftly rescinded, and the unit remained closed to outpatients.
Although the renal unit resumed operations for patients in November 2023, facilitated by the government’s clearance of its GH¢4 million debt, significant financial challenges persist, threatening the sustainability of dialysis services in the long run.