Persons with renal conditions appeal for tax waiver on dialysis consumables
Some persons with renal conditions (kidney failure) at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH) have appealed to the government to waive import duties and other related taxes on dialysis consumables and machines.
They also called on the government to ultimately revise policies on the National Health Insurance (NHIS) to cover costs of dialysis or heavily subsidise it.
Mr Micheal Asante, the Spokesperson for the Group, made the appeal during a press conference in Accra.
He said persons with renal condition needed sustainable policies towards Kidney Disease Management, and other terminal diseases, otherwise Ghana would lose too many citizens, especially its future production power –youth.
The press conference was necessitated by news on a proposed price hike in the cost of dialysis treatment from GH¢380 to GH¢765.42.
Dialysis is a treatment process that helps one’s body to remove extra fluid and waste products from the blood when the kidneys are not able to.
Patients require dialysis three sessions per week (that is, three times in a week) to enable them to have a normal life.
Mr Asante said according to the KBTH, the proposed price hike, which was before Parliament, was due to high import duties and other tax related factors because they no longer enjoyed tax exemptions.
“We want to tell the government that we cannot pay the GH¢765.42 because even with the old fee of GH¢380 we are able to pay with the support of First Sky Group.”
He said only a few patients were working, and that many were incapacitated by the condition, others lost their jobs, and the majority were unemployed.
“The high cost of End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) already poses a huge financial burden on patients and their families,” Mr Mensah stated.
Mr Asante said studies had showed that ESRD was now a prevalent menace in Ghana, with the youth, the future manpower, being the most affected.
“Sadly, some children are being affected too. Gone are the days when ESRD was associated with just the aged so, one can imagine if the new price takes effect,” he added.
He lamented that the shut-down of the renal unit since May 22, 2023, to out-patients due to lack of consumables had caused the death of 14 of patients with ESRD.
“Patients have gone through turbulent times as we struggle to finance our dialysis treatment at private dialysis centres across the city”, the spokesperson said.
Mr Asante expressed gratitude to First Sky Group of Companies for supporting kidney patients for over six years, adding that with the new price they were unsure if the company would be able to continue with the support.
Madam Gifty Larbi, a Kidney Patient, who had battled the condition for 11 years called on the government, corporate institutions, individuals, and philanthropists to come to their aid.
She said “I stay alone with my mother and must travel from Begro, in the Eastern Region to Accra every week for my dialysis so, this new price would affect me greatly not to talk of my transport fare.”
Ms Abigail Minta,26, the youngest in the Group said, “Even with the price at GH¢380 patients found it difficult to go for their dialysis three times a week,” and called for interventions from the government.
Meanwhile, the KBTH said those who paid the new fees would enjoy free sessions and not refund.