THE management of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH) has reopened the Renal Unit to outpatients after a five-month closure.
This was in response to a directive from the Ministry of Health.
Patients, however, have been asked to provide laboratory test results before being scheduled for dialysis.
The Unit was shut down last May for a partial renovation and a lack of consumables, only to reopen to patients in October 2023 at a higher cost.
Patient and public outrage at the proposed fee increase from GH¢380 to GH¢765.42 resulted in the facility’s quick closure, although intensive care was being provided for emergency cases.
Minister of Health Mr Kwaku Agyemang Manu, instructed the hospital’s management to readmit out-patients.
Mr Baffour Kojo Ahenkra, President of the Renal Patients Association, told the Ghana News Agency that the reopening of the unit was a huge step forward for renal patients in the country.
He mentioned that they had been asked to do laboratory investigations as part of preventive steps against potential infections from recent procedures at private centers.
“The normal practice is that since the place was closed for five months, we need to do some lab tests to check HIV, Hepatitis B and C for them to check and see if we are free from any bacterial infection after visiting other private centers during the period,” he explained.
However, Mr Ahenkra stated that due to insufficient dialysis machines and consumables, outpatients would only be entitled to one dialysis session a week instead of two.
He urged the Government to provide more dialysis equipment and reduce taxes on consumables to enable them to attend their weekly sessions.
Mr. Ahenkra indicated that the unit would be under strain because of the ward, emergency, and outpatient cases they would be getting, and that the 15 machines currently available would not be sufficient due to the enormous number of patients.
Mr Enock Brako, a renal patient from the Eastern Region’s Kyebi, expressed relief that the Unit had been reopened.
“I had a call from the unit yesterday asking me to come for a request form for my labs, so I arrived this morning and have done the tests awaiting my results.
“At least, it is quite better than doing it outside. I am more comfortable doing it at Korle-Bu than outside, he stated.”