Claim: There are no dialysis machines in Ghana
Source: Ivan Innocent Kyei
Researched by Julius Kofi Satsi
A youth activist, Ivan Innocent Kyei, speaking on a popular magazine programme on Onua TV, claimed that Ghana does not have dialysis machines to treat patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD).
“In a country where there are no dialysis machines…,” Ivan Innocent Kyei said during the programme on October 25, 2023, which was streamed on Facebook on the Onua TV page which has more than 1 million followers. (7:21 – 8:30 mins).
This fact-check report seeks to verify the claim.
In the last few weeks, Ghana’s media has thrown a spotlight on the seemingly high cost of dialysis treatment and the plight of patients who are unable to afford it.
This followed the more than 100% increase in the cost of dialysis treatment from GH380.00 to GHC 765.45 at the country’s premier health facility, Korle Bu Teaching Hospital.
What is Dialysis?
Dialysis is a procedure that helps your blood get filtered by a machine that works like an artificial kidney.
This type of treatment has been available in Ghana for 50 years, a country with a 13.3% prevalence of chronic kidney disease (CKD).
However, the majority of patients who develop kidney failure cannot access dialysis treatment, according to a recent study titled: “Fifty years of hemodialysis in Ghana—current status, utilization and cost of dialysis services.”
The study looked into dialysis prevalence, utilization and cost after 50 years of its initiation in Ghana, and found that there are 51 dialysis centres located in 9 of the 16 regions of Ghana.
The research which was published on October 27, 2023, revealed that only 40 centres are functioning, as 11 had shut down or are yet to operate.
In another study published in 2018, a total of 103 dialysis machines were identified across the various centres and with majority 57.2% were found in state-owned facilities.
GhanaFact contacted a senior lecturer at the University of Ghana and the Head of Nephrology at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, Prof. Vincent Bioma, to help verify the claim.
“That’s not true. At the medical block where I work, we have dialysis machines. There are several dialysis centres in Ghana. In fact, Korlebu, Komfo Anokye, Cape Coast, the Police Hospital, the Military Hospital, the International Maritime Hospital, and the Bank of Ghana hospital have dialysis machines,” he said.
“I don’t know the number in each of these places. You know, at my centre, currently, some of our machines are broken down, so we are reduced to about 12 machines now,” Dr Boima said when asked about the total number of dialysis machines in the country.
GhanaFact further contacted Ivan Innocent Kyei through email with our findings and he said:
“The claim wasn’t about Korlebu not having a dialysis machine at all, but I was stressing the point that the number of patients (clients) who visit Korlebu in need of dialysis treatment far outweigh services (dialysis treatment) the hospital provides,” he explained.
The claim is rated false.