Bolga Regional Hospital appeals for dialysis centre

The Bolgatanga Regional Hos­pital in the Upper East Region has no haemodialysis centre to manage patients who suffer from kidney failure, and need renal replacement ther­apy in the form of dialysis to survive.

Consequently, 15 patients suffering from kidney failure died in Bolgatanga last year, due to their inability to travel almost every other day for dialysis at Ta­male Teaching Hospital, in the Northern Region, where they have been referred for the lifesaving support.

Dr Emmanuel Akatibo, Physician Specialist at the Department of Internal Medicine, Bolgatanga Regional Hospital, who disclosed this to Ghanaian Times by telephone yesterday said since he started work at the hospital in March 2022, the department had 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.

“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 (164km from Bolga) for such ser­vice. Most of these patients were young adults in their prime age, bread winners 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,” he moaned.

He said it was refreshing to know that almost all the regions had dialysis centres with the exception of Upper East and the newly created regions.

He added that it was unfortunate this service is not available in the Bolgatanga Regional Hospital which served as the main referral centre for the whole of Up­per East, parts of North East, Burkina Faso and Togo.

Dr Akatibo attributed kidney failure to, among others, use of unapproved herbal preparation, high concentrated energy drink, adding that Hypertension was the major cause of Kidney failure.

He said 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, adding “this didn’t come easy for them at all, so some dropped along the way because they couldn’t keep up.”

Dr Akatibo who is the only physician specialist in the hospital said aside the cost of the dialysis and medications which was expensive, these patients had to travel 2-to-3 times a week with a care­giver to Tamale for the dialysis adding ‘this puts 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 had to reduce the recom­mended three 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,” he added.

He said the hospital had started the awareness creation and sensitisation 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 which ever form,” he said.

“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,” he added.


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