Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, Minister of Health

Health Minister Kwaku Agyemang-Manu says the Finance Minister has approved the disbursement of the GH₵4 million debt owed to Korle Bu Teaching Hospital.

He made this announcement when he appeared before Parliament to brief the House on what led to the closure of the Renal Unit at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital.

The Renal Unit was shut down on May 22, 2023, with hospital authorities blaming the closure on the removal of tax and excise duty exemptions on medical consumables.

This had created a GH₵4 million debt for the hospital. Since the closure in May, about 19 renal patients have died.

Since its closure in May, about 19 patients with renal diseases have lost their lives.

According to the Health Minister, upon a Ministry’s directive to reopen the Renal Unit, “The MoH has since made a request to the Ministry of Finance to settle the total indebtedness to the GH₵4 million and the good news is that the Minister for Finance has just approved the disbursement of GH₵4 million to support our patients in Korle Bu.”

According to him, the debts were accrued as a result of a delay in payment to South African consumable suppliers, Sky Group of Company for the past two years.

“Due to these delays, the RTU continues to accrue exchange rate losses which has made it difficult for the RTU to service the monthly payment to the partner …in view of this challenge, Korle Bu has accrued a total debt of a little over GH₵4 million debt,” he explained.

He also bemoaned the current charge of dialysis payment which is GH₵380, noting that “it is insufficient to enable the RTU to generate enough revenue to fulfill its full obligations under the contract with FMC.”

This, he stated compromised the RTU’s ability to raise funds required to pay for consumables procured from FMC.

Again, he said another factor leading to the accumulation of debts is as a result of the increase in patients with dialysis issues leading to the increase in cost of care since dialysis patients are not on the National Health Insurance Scheme.

According to the Health Minister, to avoid excessive delays and delivery of the outstanding 45 dialysis machines and auxiliary equipment, the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in consultation with the Ministry of Health, has initiated discussions with FMC for review of the current contract for more flexible payment options and more structured supply of consumables.

To forestall the recurrence of the closure of the Renal Unit, Mr Agyemang-Manu noted that the Health Ministry in collaboration with Korle-Bu and the Ministry of Finance is considering the following options:

  1. The possible inclusion of dialysis on the National Health Insurance benefit package.
  2. The granting of subsidies based on proposals received from Korle Bu.
  3. Possible review of tariffs to ensure the sustainability of the services.