A humanitarian surgeon and the Medical Director of the Sage Medical Center, Dr Grace Ayensu-Danquah, has appealed to the government to remove taxes on consumables used for dialysis to help institutions offering the treatment to reduce prices for patients.
The double boarded-certified surgeon, whose facility is a foremost dialysis center in the country, said taxes on consumables such as dialyser, introducer needle, arteriovenous fistula needle, blood tubing set and transducer protector, helped to increase the cost of treatment which was often passed on to patients through higher prices.
Speaking to the media on recent revelations on the rising cost of dialysis in the country, Dr Ayensu-Danquah, who is also a member of the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) Advisory Team for Vaccines and Biological products, described the development as unfortunate.
She empathized with the current plight of kidney failure patients but noted that one of the surest solutions was to remove tariffs on consumable imports so that more can be shipped into the country for the benefit of renal patients at an affordable price. “The price of consumables is tied to the US dollar rate and any depreciation in the cedi means prices will increase, making it costly for facilities such as Sage to import.
“This does not only make it harder for existing facilities to operate but it denies other investors from setting up to make prices competitive for patients,” the National Democratic Congress parliamentary candidate for the Essikado-Ketan in the Western Region said.
Dr Ayensu-Danquah also recommended that the National Health Insurance Scheme be made to cover dialysis procedures as well as the treatment for kidney patients in Ghana.
She said the scheme, which is operated by the National Health Insurance Authority, could allow patients to make part payment under a co-pay policy.
In line with her medical philanthropy, Dr Ayensu-Danquah, who is also a Professor of Medicine at the Center for Global Surgery at the University of Utah in the United States and a lecturer at the University of Cape Coast Medical School, uses her charity works to provide free medical supplies and equipment to clinics and hospitals in rural areas.
Although a private hospital, the Sage Medical Centre at East Legon, opposite Ampomah Hotel, has a vision to bring affordable kidney care to the doorstep of all Ghanaians to help save lives.
Kidney failure prevalence
The PMC PubMed Central, estimates the prevalence of chronic kidney disease (CKD) – reduced function of the kidneys – to estimated to be between 10 per cent and 13 per cent globally and 13.9 per cent in sub-Saharan Africa.
In Ghana, CKD prevalence has been estimated at around 13.3 per cent.
For kidney patients, dialysis is a must to prolong live.
She is a gender, humanitarian Surgeon advocate, educationist, and philanthropist. Dr. Grace Ayensu-Danquah holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and a Medical Degree from the University of Wisconsin in Madison. The double boarded-certified surgeon also holds a Masters degree in Public Health from the Johns Hopkins University in Maryland.
Dr Ayensu-Danquah worked in private practice in the United States before relocating back to Ghana to help impact lives. She holds licenses to practice in California and Michigan and is a fellow of both the American College of Surgeons and the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons.
She is also a board member of Days for Girls International Ghana.
Upon her return to Ghana, she helped to establish the Sage Medical Center to help bring respite to kidney patients upon noticing the gap in dialysis care.
The center boosts of modern state-of-the-art medical facilities, with cutting edge technology and equipment that facilitate pin-point diagnostic accuracy as well as effective treatment and management of all kidney problems.