A journalist, Thomas Cann, who is living with kidney disease, thus on dialysis has complained bitterly about Government's failure to capture dialysis under the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
Thomas Cann claims that in 2016, he led an advocacy for the NHIS to cover kidney disease and its associated cost, but his clarion call has not been heeded to. This is despite the huge numbers of Ghanaians, especially the youth who are suffering from the illness.
“We have been pushing and calling for the National Health Insurance to absorb some of the cost for several years, but we have not been successful. Even during the 2016 election, it was only the APC candidate who made mention of it as a campaign promise which made me very happy,” he said in an interview on TV3's Ghana Tonight on September 26, 2023.
According to him, no politician has since talked about the welfare of persons living with kidney disease.
“Unfortunately, during the campaign, no politician made mention of it. It was just recently that the presidential adviser on health, Dr Nsiah Asare mentioned that persons living with kidney disease could be considered, which we are all looking forward to. But until now, it is unfortunate that our calls have not been heeded to.” he said.
He further lamented that everything about kidney disease is expensive.
“It is not only the dialysis that is expensive, but also the fistula, till date fistula surgeries are done in Accra. Only Korle-Bu offers such services and all patients in Western, Bono and others will all have to travel to Accra. But when you get to Korle-Bu, the nurses and doctors then refer you to other private facilities which is more expensive.” he revealed.
Mr. Cann bemoaned the recent increase in charges for dialysis from GHC380 to GHC 765.42 per session. He explained that with the prevailing economic hardship in the country, persons living with kidney diseases cannot afford.
“Kidney patients are suffering more. I am afraid in the coming days and weeks, if care is not taken, we are going to lose more people” he added.
Mr. Cann called on government and other advocates to speak against the increase in the charge for dialysis at Korle -Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra, as this might compel other hospitals to also increase their charges.
By Clara Boadi Konadu