Vice-President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has highlighted the need for improved healthcare access, especially for women.
In a speech read on his behalf by Deputy Minister for the Interior, Henry Quartey, to mark the commemoration of World Kidney Day on 8 March 2018 at an event held at the Police Hospital Dialysis Center, Dr Bawumia indicated that: “There is indeed a clear need to address issues of equitable healthcare access for women where it is currently lacking and increase awareness and education to facilitate women’s access to treatment”.
This year’s celebration was on the theme: Kidneys and Women’s Health.
The event was held at the Police Hospital Dialysis Centre, which was attended by Paramount Chief of Osu and President of the Greater Accra Regional House of Chiefs, Nii Okwei Kinka Dowuona VI as well as the Inspector General of Police (IGP), David Asante-Apeatu.
As part of the activities, a health screening exercise was organised for the Osu community at the forecourt of the Osu Palace.
Dr Bawumia explained that Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) progresses silently leading to the loss of kidney function and premature death and this can occur at any age.
“In Ghana, kidney failure forms about 35 – 40% of all medical admissions at hospitals, most patients with ages between 25 – 45 years,” he lamented adding that "CKD affects approximately 195 million women worldwide and it is currently the 8th leading cause of death in women, with close to 600,000 deaths each year".
He added that kidney disease can be treated and “the earlier you know you have it, the better your chances of receiving effective treatment. Awareness, therefore, is the key”.
According to studies, CKD is more likely to develop in women compared with men, with an average 14% prevalence in women and 12% in men.
However, the number of women on dialysis is lower than the number of men.
Dr Bawumia further noted that it is time to “fight negative socio-cultural tendencies that keep women away from accessing health care”.
He was concerned that even in countries where kidney transplants are performed “it is sad to note that women tend more often to donate kidneys and are less likely to receive them”.
Dr Bawumia said he is proud as the Chairperson of the Police Council, to have a well-functioning kidney dialysis centre at the Ghana Police Hospital.
“In 2017, 2,479 dialysis treatments were carried out and this is commendable. Four of the patients have also gone on to have kidney transplants, possible only because of the good care they received here. I am informed that approximately 50% of the patients who undergo dialysis are staff of the Ghana Police Service.
“The Ghana Police Dialysis Centre is a clear example of a constructive and vibrant public private partnership between Ghana Police Service and Health Education on Wheels, an NGO.
“I am happy that the blend of highly competent staff in an enabling environment with a non-governmental organisation providing needed equipment and support has ensured accessible and quality kidney treatment. This is impactful collaboration indeed,” he noted.
Dr Bawumia commended the Osu Mantse for his continuous support to the dialysis centre as well as other stakeholders who ensure a smooth running of the facility.
“My appreciation goes to the Paramount Chief of Osu, who is also the President of the Greater Accra Regional House of Chiefs for jointly collaborating with the center to provide free health screening for women and girls on this World Kidney Day.
“I commend the Medical Director of the Police Hospital, Dr Iddi Musah for ensuring competent health staff are always available to attend to patients.
“Congratulations also to the Chairperson of this constructive partnership, Dr Sylvia Anie for being a strong advocate for the dialysis centre and ensuring the dialysis centre has the needed support from the highest levels.
“Lastly, I applaud the Inspector General of Police for his commitment to the Dialysis Centre and urge him to proceed with expediency his expansion programme for the Police Hospital Dialysis Centre.
“With more space and more dialysis machines, we could even do much more in the provision of quality care”.