By Enyichukwu Enemanna
Ghana’s Health Minister, Kwaku Agyeman Manu is to appear before the parliament next week to provide answers on the circumstances surrounding the five-month closure of the renal unit at the publicly funded Korle-Bu hospital in the capital, Accra.
The facility serves as the country’s largest treatment centre for patients suffering kidney disease.
It was shut down over budgetary issues and it was unable to attend to patients needing its services.
Nineteen people have died since the facility was closed, according to the head of a patients’ group.
The call for the minister to be summoned was made by the Member of Parliament for Juaboso, Kwabena Mintah Akandoh.
“The reopening of the outpatient department cannot continue to be in abeyance, and even more distressing is the statement from the Renal Patients Association that since the closure of the outpatient department of the renal unit in May, more than 19 of its members have died. The tragic loss of life emphasizes the urgency of the matter and the necessity for immediate intervention,” he stated.
Mr Akandoh further called on Mr Agyeman-Manu to address the issue of the approved GH¢380 fee charge for kidney treatment, which has not been reinstated since the outpatient department was closed.
Kofi Baffour Ahenkorah told the BBC that the situation has left most of his members stranded because they cannot afford the treatment at private hospitals.
Patients on dialysis have to visit the hospital three times a week.
At Korle-Bu, the treatment cost is $190 (£160) per week but private hospitals charge far more than that.
The Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Andrew Amoako Asiamah, who was presiding over the house on Thursday issued the directive after the MPs unanimously agreed for the minister to make an appearance before the House.
“The Minister for Health is to appear before us on Thursday, November 9, to come and brief us on the closure of the Renal Unit outpatient department and the upsurge of kidney-related problems in Ghana,” Mr Asiamah said.