Exempt medication and dialysis kits from taxes and duties – Mahama
Former President Dramani Mahama has called on the government to take measures to exempt taxes and duties on medication and kits for dialysis treatment to maintain critical lifeline for patients whose survival depend on them.
“Just this week, there was an uproar when the nation’s premier teaching hospital, Korle-bu, announced an increase in charges for dialysis treatment out of reach for many patients and their families.
“The explanation I have read from the Korle-bu Teaching Hospital cite the increase in taxes and duties of materials for dialysis treatment as the main reason for this decision,” he stated.
Former President Mahama made the call when he delivered a keynote address on “Fulfilling the Promises of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for Older Persons: Across Generation” at the First Ghana Ageing Conference, to commemorate the 2023 United Nations International Day of Older Persons.
The commemoration was on the overall theme: “Promoting Quality Ageing Through Effective Stakeholder Collaboration and Coordination.”
The former President said there were real-life stories and not statistics and that; “Amid the current economic crisis and a difficult period for many Ghanaians, with worsening hardship, excessive cost of living, collapsing businesses and unemployment, the government should not be insensitive by passing on catastrophic healthcare cost to people with life-threatening diseases.
“This is akin to condemning kidney disease patients to a death sentence. Many of such patients are in the bracket of the elderly.”
He also appealed to the government to attend to the needs of Korle Bu, saying “Credible information suggested Ghana’s premier hospital, Korle-bu was struggling with inadequate ventilators.
“While promising to fix the health systems as we envisaged, this critical intervention will limit the avoidable deaths that their present state of deprivation may occasion,” he stated.
He expressed concern over the emergency or the critical care system relating to the Intensive Care Units and High-Dependency Units in the country’s hospitals and that while he was in office many of the obsolete health equipment were replaced.
“We also constructed ultra-modern hospitals such as the Ridge Hospital, the University of Ghana Medical Centre, the Maritime Hospital, and the Dodowa and Ga East hospitals,” he stated.
He said: “Our population is ageing, and better healthcare becomes a high priority with ageing. This is why we are committed to providing our beloved country, Ghana, with a compassionate leadership that meets our citizens’ aspirations. We will not only work to bring our economy back on track.
“We will provide accountable leadership that ensures our communities are developed with the needed social and economic infrastructure to bring relief to Ghanaians.
“At the first Ghana Ageing Conference, I stand before you today to renew my commitment to these promises, including providing better access to affordable healthcare to the aged. We can meet the goals of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for Older Persons, SDGs, and the African Union Agenda 2063.”
Former President Mahama said as a key step, the legal framework that protected the interests and rights of the aged must be reinforced by facilitating the passage of the Social Protection Bill and Aged Persons Bill.
“I am fully committed to this noble objective, and as President, I will lead the advocacy for an effective implementation.
“It is not enough to raise awareness about the need for healthcare and social provisions for the elderly. Let us assist them with access to modern technology and help the elderly use these technologies to improve their quality of life. Let us make the effort to spend quality time with the elderly in our families and communities.
“Remember that we will all grow old one day, and any investment we make in caring for the elderly is an investment in ourselves,” he stated.
Rev Father Andrew Campbell, the Chairperson for the occasion said older persons must be recognised and treated with dignity and respect, adding “we must combat all forms of inequalities and discrimination and that human rights are universal principles of justice and dignity.”
He called for the formation of Grand Parents Association to see to the welfare of older people.
He said society must spend time with the elderly, adding; “The aged have a lot to share and there is the need to give them a listening hear,” while urging parents to teach their children to have respect for the elderly.