Renal Patient Association calls for kidney care fund in 2024 budget


The President of the Renal Patient Association of Ghana, Baffour Kojo Ahenkorah, has suggested to the government the creation of a special fund for renal care in the country.

He proposed that this fund be included in the 2024 budget, which will be presented in Parliament next week.

This proposal arises following the Ministry of Finance’s approval of GH¢4 million to settle the outstanding debt of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital’s renal unit.

In an interview with Eyewitness News on Citi FM, Ahenkorah stressed the importance of incorporating national health insurance for renal patients, emphasizing its potential as a sustainable solution to reduce mortality rates in the unit.

“The government needs to intervene at this time. The GH¢380 we are currently paying has remained the same for years. If this continues, the government may need to subsidize almost GH¢1 million every month.”

“Now, the question is, can this be sustained? Can the government continue to provide this support every month? If it can, then hallelujah. But the fact remains that even the GH¢380, we as patients were unable to pay; someone else was covering the costs for us. So, the government needs to examine this issue. If they decide to incorporate it into the national health insurance, so be it. They should work out the details so that it can be covered by health insurance, preventing patients from suffering in the event of a closure, where patients would face dire consequences.”

He highlighted the necessity of government intervention, citing examples from countries where dialysis is provided for free.

Ahenkorah proposed alternative solutions, such as integrating it into the health insurance system or allocating quarterly budget funds to support the renal unit.

“The way forward is for the government to step in. In some other countries, and while Ghana may not directly compare itself to them, dialysis is provided free of charge. Even if you are affluent, the cost of dialysis can quickly deplete your financial resources. Therefore, governments need to take a critical look at the situation and expedite the necessary actions. Whether they choose to include it in the health insurance or allocate funds in the budget, perhaps on a quarterly basis, to support the renal unit for treatment. This approach would likely be the best solution because this is an issue that nobody can manage on their own.”

The Renal Unit at Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, which had closed its doors to outpatients for six months due to a GH¢4 million debt owed to dialysis suppliers, has now reopened.


Meanwhile, Health Minister Kwaku Agyeman-Manu acknowledged the inadequacy of the current fee of GH¢380 for dialysis treatment, stating that it is insufficient to sustain the renal unit at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital.

Agyeman-Manu explained that this inadequacy has compromised the unit’s ability to generate enough revenue to fulfil its contractual obligations in terms of timely payment for consumables.

“It remains a fact that the current charge of GH¢380 for dialysis is insufficient to enable the RDU to generate enough revenue to fulfil its full obligations under the contract with FMC especially as it does not have any exchange rate per annum regime.”

“This has compromised the ability of the RDU to raise the funds required to pay for consumables procured from FMC promptly. Due to the high incidence of patients requiring dialysis the total cost of care keeps rising adding to the accumulation of beds,” he said.

A member of the Health Committee of Parliament, Sebastian Sandaare, has attributed the shutdown of the renal unit of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital to a failure in leadership.

The facility closed for five months due to a GH¢4 million debt, reopened on Monday. Tragically, during the closure, 19 renal patients lost their lives.

In response to a briefing by the Health Minister in Parliament in Accra on Thursday, the MP for Daffiama-Bussie-Issa criticized the government for its lack of proactive measures to save lives that were lost.

Sandaare highlighted the absence of immediate leadership action on the first day of the notice, emphasizing that 19 people perished due to being denied fundamental rights.

“So what did the Ministry of Health do? That is what I mean by leadership failure. So the very first day the notice came was the very first day we expected leadership and for the government and the Ministry to say that you cannot do that on your own. As we speak about 19 people have perished because they were denied fundamental rights,” he said.