The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, Dr. Opoku Ware Ampomah, says the hospital still has a leeway to write to the Finance, and Health Ministries to get the waiver for duties and taxes on some medical consumables.
The Public Relations Officer for the hospital, Mustapha Salifu blamed the high cost of taxation for the recent increase in the cost of dialysis.
Mr. Salifu in an interview with JoyNews indicated that the government used to exempt the institution from paying some importation duties and some related taxes. But as of last year, the hospital’s facilities at the unit are no longer entitled to those benefits.
However, speaking on Metro TV’s Good Morning Ghana with Dr. Randy Abbey on Thursday, September 28, 2023, the CEO of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, Dr. Opoku Ware Ampomah noted that “there was unfortunately, probably, some level of miscommunication” in the PR’s statement.
“But the key thing is the fact that these consumables are imported and the supply that we get from, at the moment, we pay in Euros so definitely if you look at the trends over the last two years you realize that there definitely has to be some adjustments but to the extent of adjustment that is where at each level we have to scrutinize and make sure we are not passing on unnecessary burden unto the patients so there is a kind of balancing act that we are doing. We want to be able to service and at the same level we also do not want to burden our patients unnecessarily,” he explained.
Dr. Opoku Ware Ampomah also provided background information that led to the miscommunication by the institution’s public relations officer.
“For this particular consignment, there was an element of urgency to it so we looked at… And these goods were airlifted and so, at that time, you know, I mean if you’ve been following the dialysis unit, we had to cut back on the extent of our services, dealing with emergencies and inpatients because the consumable level had come low now this has been necessitated because there was some contractual issues with the supplier which needed to iron out.
“We have been able to iron out now and so the consignment which is usually comes by freight which gives us enough time to do the paperwork for the waivers she things were now airlifted and so they came in we needed to take delivery of them quickly and then we also looked at the quantum of the duty and we are also looking at the demolish cost — the storage cost that we have incurred if we wait for the paperwork to be done. and we realize that, actually we may end up paying more demurrages than the duty waivers that we were going to get, so we might as well just, you know, pay and clear them. so in this instance, that is what it was done. This is not the first time this has happened and usually, we do not pass that cost. It is something that we absorb administratively so I want to be clear on that,” he said.
Touching on the supposed notice of dialysis costs increment at the renal unit of the hospital, Dr. Opoku Ware Ampomah said the price making the rounds on social media is premature.
He said the proposed review is currently on the table but it is yet to be approved.
“Yes, a notice went up but unfortunately, that was a premature notice or it was a bit of jumping the gun. The fact of the matter is that our current charges for renal dialysis were set some years ago and obviously, with changes in the exchange rate, et cetera, there needs to be a review,” he told Dr. Randy Abbey.
“The current notice that went up it’s even at the…. stage it hadn’t even come up to the management level yet so that was a premature notice that went up. But in these days of social media, I think somebody took a shot of it and then it went viral because administratively, the communication has gone from the director of medical affairs to the unit to let them know that there’s a process so let us go to the processing,” he added.
Although the CEO of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital said the hospital would adjust the cost of dialysis, he said the hospital will ensure the increment will not unnecessarily burden patients.
The Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH) increased the cost of renal dialysis from GHS¢380 to GHS¢765.42.
The increment infuriated the public who are concerned about the affordability of the treatment.