My name is Emmanuel Akatibo a Physician Specialist at the Bolgatanga Regional Hospital.
This is the story of the fate of patients who suffer from kidney failure needing renal replacement therapy in the form of haemodialysis in the region.
Since I started working in the regional hospital in March 2022 as the only Physician Specialist – The department of Internal medicine has recorded over 30 kidney failure cases that needed dialysis either as a long-term renal replacement therapy or a short course of dialysis to allow time for the kidneys to recover.
Unfortunately, this service is not available in the regional hospital which serves as the main referral centre for the whole of Upper East, parts of North East, Burkina Faso and Togo. Out of those who had end-stage kidney failure and needed long-term haemodialysis, only a few could afford to travel to Tamale the nearest centre for dialysis. This didn’t come easy for them at all, so some dropped along the way because they couldn’t keep up.
Aside the cost of the dialysis and medications which is expensive, these patients had to travel 2-to-3 times a week with a caregiver to Tamale for the dialysis, this puts an extra burden on their families because some just had to stop working in order to be able to travel almost every other day for dialysis.
Due to the inconveniences and extra financial burden on them, some couldn’t maintain it and died along the way, those who could have to reduce the recommended 3 times a week dialysis to either once a week or once every two weeks. This worsen most of them their condition and affected their quality of life. Others had to entirely relocate with their family to Tamale, Kumasi, and Accra in order to have easy access to dialysis centres.
15 out of those who were visiting Tamale for regular dialysis for the year 2022 died because they couldn’t afford to travel almost every other day for dialysis.
For those who developed Acute kidney injury(AKI) which has the potential to reverse to normal and needed dialysis support for the kidneys to recover died because they couldn’t afford to travel to Tamale for such service. Most of these patients were young adults in their prime age, breadwinners of their families who probably just needed 2-to-4 dialysis sessions to recover from the AKI but we just had to watch on helpless.
It’s on this background that the hospital started the awareness creation and sensitization of the public on kidney diseases for prevention, early detection and treatment to prevent progression and at the same time the campaign to help it set up a haemodialysis centre for the region. It is capital intensive and beyond the capacity of the hospital to fund it alone and would therefore need the support of individuals, corporate Ghana and all well-meaning sons and daughters of the region to contribute to this course in whichever form.
It’s refreshing to know that almost all the Regions have dialysis centres with the exception of the Upper East and the newly created regions.
We have our challenges as a region but I think this project will serve the interest of the entire region irrespective of where you belong to. I, therefore, call on you to join the campaign.
Time to have a hemodialysis center in the upper east region
It’s now or never✊🏿.
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