Ghanaians are willing to accept a kidney transplant but not ready to donate, a new study has revealed.
The study, which was conducted by health professionals at the Korle Bu Teaching hospital in Accra was aimed at finding ways in which the chronic kidney disease could be curtailed.
Dr Vincent Ganu, a physician from the Korle Bu Teaching hospital who revealed this said the prevalence of the chronic disease in sub-Saharan Africa is currently 13.9%.
He was speaking during a Health Conference programme which was organised by Lancaster University Ghana in Accra on Thursday, September 8, 2016.
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Millions die annually from untreated kidney failure due to the high cost of treatment involved.
According to Vincent Ganu, only a few Ghanaians are able to afford Dialysis and kidney transplantation.
He said the Korle Bu Teaching hospital is, therefore, hoping to establish a kidney transplant programme “such that people will be booked for kidneys so that we will try and find donors, try and get recipients...it cuts down the cost, it makes it a little more flexible for us.”
Dr Ganu believes in order to establish the programme, “ideas need to be harnessed” in order to find out public perceptions on kidney transplantation in the country.
Five communities were therefore selected for the study – Labone, Laterbiokorshie, Old Fadama, Chorkor and Ashiyie, with 100 consenting adult participants recruited per community.
Structured questionnaires and standardised research instruments were used to solicit information from participants. Data was analysed using SPSS version 20 and significant level was set at 95% confidence level.
Dr Vincent Ganu said that the study which was conducted over a month revealed that even though a majority of Ghanaians have positive attitudes towards kidney transplantation, less than 50% were willing to donate a kidney, with 71.6% willing to do so after death.
He said those refusing to donate attributed this to poor health status, loss of body part, religious beliefs and cultural practices, as well as, mistrust of health professionals.
The study, however, revealed that 64% were willing to donate, with as many as 80% willing to accept a kidney.
Dr Vincent Ganu believes deep-seated traditional, cultural and religious beliefs are currently the main factors preventing the introduction of a successful kidney transplant programme in Ghana.
He argues that attitudinal change such as awareness and behaviour will be necessary in order to change the status quo.
Religious leaders, who seem to influence the decision of Ghanaians in relation to kidney transplantation, will also be targeted for education, he added.
The Health Conference programme organised by Lancaster University Ghana was under the theme "Current and Future Challenges for Medical Management in West Africa."
The conference, which is the first of its kind organized by the school brought together health researchers,policy makers,practitioners and students to discuss current and future challenges of medical management in West Africa.
Doctoral candidates from Lancaster University also showcased their research in the field while also gaining added input from the exchange of ideas and methods.