Thursday, 30 May

World Kidney Day 2024: Tetteh Quarshie Memorial Hospital responds to chronic kidney disease with GH₵ 2.5m dialysis centre

Health News
Machines and equipment for Tetteh Quarshie Memorial Hospital Dialyses Centre

Enterprise Foundation, Okuapeman Fekuw UK & Ireland, Sustainable Health Interventions and Education NGO, and the National Petroleum Authority have responded to Ghana’s dire chronic kidney disease crises by supporting the establishment of a kidney dialysis centre at the Tetteh Quarshie Memorial Hospital in Mampong.

Other well-meaning Ghanaians, and philanthropists who have been instrumental to the noble cause include the Municipal Chief Executive of Akuapem North Barima Asiedu-Larbi, Mpuntuhene of Akuapem – Nana Awuku Sakyi, Tutuhene - Nana Appiah Anti IV, Akuapem Gyasehemea – Nana Manko Aba II, Paramount Chief of Nandom Traditional Area - Professor Edmund Delle, Adontenhene of Morso Ashanti - Nana Otuo Acheampong and Professor D Prabhakaran, Public Health Foundation, New Delhi, India.

When completed, the estimated GH₵ 2.5 million dialysis centre will serve thousands of patients in the Eastern Region and its environs and save countless lives from deaths caused by renal failure.

The activities align with the World Kidney Day campaign, which is marked globally to raise awareness about kidney health.

This year, the event is being held on March 14, 2024, on the theme, ‘Kidney Health for All – Advancing equitable access to care and optimal medication practice’.

The project has the endorsement and support of the Vice President of Ghana, H.E. Dr Mahamudu Bamumia; the Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Alban Bagbin; the Paramount Chief of the Akuapem Traditional Area, Oseadeeyo Kwasi Akuffo III; and the Ghana Health Service (GHS).

The project is being led by Sustainable Health Interventions and Education NGO and to date, four dialysis machines and other equipment have been acquired from the pool of donations as efforts intensify to complete all the necessities for an efficient, world-class dialysis centre.

A complete dialysis centre setup involves a spacious area, machines and equipment, dialysis supplies and consumables (such as dialysers, introducer needles, AV fistula needles, blood tubing set, transducer protector, lumen haemodialysis catheters, hospital beds, water treatment systems, computer monitors, and hospital furniture, among others.

The Tetteh Quarshie Memorial Hospital has earmarked a building and offered eight health professionals for training in this speciality with the support of the Ghana Health Service (GHS).

Chronic kidney disease outlook

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is estimated to affect over 850 million people worldwide and resulted in over 3.1 million deaths in 2019, according to the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study by the Institute For Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.

Alarmingly, kidney disease ranks as the 8th leading cause of death presently, and a journal published by The Lancet, a weekly peer-reviewed general medical journal, suggests that if left unaddressed, chronic kidney disease is projected to be the 5th leading cause of years of life lost by 2040.

From left to right: David Ofori, Director of Finance of Okuapemman Fekuw UK & Ireland;  Dr Sylvia Anie, Patron of Okuapemman Fekuw UK & Ireland; Dr Albert Benneh, Medical Superintendent of the Tetteh Quarshie Memorial Hospital; Maxwell Larbi, Head of Admin, Tetteh Quarshie Memorial Hospital; Mr Godfried Nyante, Director of the Sustainable Health Interventions and Education NGO


The dark kidney disease situation in Ghana

Chronic kidney diseases claim over 4,000 lives in Ghana yearly, with many victims being the breadwinners of their families.

The shortage of specialists compounds the kidney disease situation, as only 15 nephrologists are available in the entire 16 regions of the country.

Statistics show that nearly 14 per cent of the over 30 million Ghanaians are suffering from chronic kidney disease.

This equates to more than 4.3 million, of which researchers suggest that between 15,000 and 19,500 should be on dialysis.

However, treatment is not cheap as patients require between GH₵400 and GH₵1000 for three dialysis sessions a week.

The cost of dialysis is a fraction of the bills, excluding regular medication and other health services.

The situation is worsened by inadequate facilities, with approximately 15 centres and about 300 dialysis machines in Ghana, the majority in the Greater Accra and Ashanti regions.

Disturbingly, four regions do not have a single dialysis machine; hence, patients must travel long distances over several kilometres for regular dialysis.

Even though Ghana has a National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), chronic kidney disease is not covered under the programme, meaning patients and families must shoulder the entire huge financial burden all alone.

The Tetteh Quarshie Memorial Hospital was established in 1961 by the then Cocoa Marketing Board and named after the late Tetteh Quarshie, who brought cocoa pods to Ghana in 1879.

The 150-bed capacity hospital is a referral centre and serves Akuapem North, Akuapem South, Okere, Damfah and Adenta areas, among others.

Despite the rising number of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) cases in the region, the hospital lacks a dialysis centre to treat patients with chronic kidney diseases.

The hospital records alarming figures for hypertension and diabetes, both precursors of chronic kidney diseases.

Time to act

These and a high rate of cases in the Eastern Region compelled the Enterprise Foundation, Okuapeman Fekuw UK & Ireland and others to assist in tackling the menace.

Commenting on the kidney dialysis health project, Vice President Dr Bawumia said:

“It is indeed, encouraging when Ghanaians who have travelled to other countries continue to remember their homeland and initiate efforts to improve development in Ghana, specifically in healthcare”.

Patron of the Okuapeman Fekuw UK & Ireland, Dr Sylvia Anie, CSci CChem FRSC FRSM, commented:

“Evidence-based responses in healthcare are essential and it is good to see the Tetteh Quarshie Memorial Hospital is responding to the very dire statistics of chronic kidney disease”.

On his part, the Director-General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr Patrick Kuma Aboagye, noted:

“Non-communicable diseases account for a significant number of deaths worldwide and especially in Ghana. Of the top 10 killer diseases in the country, five of them are from non-communicable diseases.

“It is for this reason that the Ghana Health Service, in collaboration with our partners, are prioritising non-communicable diseases as part of our UHC agenda.

“Eastern region has its fair share of these challenges, and there are not enough areas where dialysis can be taken across the country. Tetteh Quarshie Government Hospital, which is currently being retooled, is strategically placed to address these challenges”.

Meanwhile, Dr. Albert Benneh, the Medical Superintendent of the Tetteh Quarshie Memorial Hospital, states:

“From 2020 to 2022,  the Tetteh Quarshie Memorial Hospital admitted 673 patients with hypertension and out of this, we had 3.1% mortality. For diabetes over the same period, we admitted 573 and out of this, 4.8% also died.

“This is worrying because hypertension and diabetes are associated with kidney diseases, but we lack a dialysis facility to offer comprehensive treatment for such patients.

“It is encouraging to see Ghanaians ready to support the set-up of a kidney dialysis unit to provide treatment and care for chronic kidney disease patients”.