M a r k e t N e w s

New plan to improve cancer treatment at a lower cost

Posted on : Friday, 12th August 2016

Plans are underway to increase the amount of money offered to patients with cancer under the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF).
The move is meant to relief the Kenyans who are covered by the NHIF, the heavy financial burden that comes with treating cancer.
According to the Cabinet Secretary for Health Dr. Cleopa Mailu the NHIF board shall be engaged to increase the money which is extended to people with cancer, to address a public outcry over the escalating cost of treatment in the country.
The CS revealed that similar benefits have already been rolled out to Kenyans in need of renal services hence the importance of providing the same support to cancer patients.
“This will not require actuarial studies because it is a decision that we have to make. It should be part of the NHIF reform agenda to improve access,” he emphasized.
Approximately 39,000 new cancer cases are recorded in the country every year. While a single session of radiotherapy treatment at the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) costs KSh500, it costs KSh10, 000 in some private facilities.
Similarly, chemotherapy treatment varies in cost and depends on one’s age, general health, the type, location and size of the cancer. For example a single cycle of Herceptin, one of the drugs used to treat breast cancer, costs KSh250,000.
During the commissioning of the specialised breast cancer machine at the KNH by H.E First Lady Margaret Kenyatta, Ms. Prisca Githuka, a cancer survivor, voiced her concerns over the overall cost of cancer treatment in the country. She lamented that her entire two-year breast cancer treatment costed about KSh5.5 million with the Herceptin cycles taking KSh3 million.
She noted that it was Roche Pharmaceuticals Limited that helped her to meet a third of the cost of the Herceptin treatment and relieved her of a significant amount of financial load.
“About 90 percent of women with breast cancer cannot afford treatment and the few that are able either fundraise, sell their property or take loans. I belong to the 10 percent bracket but I know that I wouldn’t have finished treatment if Roche hadn’t donated one dose for every two doses that I paid for,” she observed.
Dr. Mailu revealed that the government is exploring numerous interventions to combat cancer.
He noted that a Human Papilloma Virus vaccination project targeting girls aged nine to 13 years will be launched soon.
“This will be a major milestone in the primary prevention efforts for cervical cancer amongst other strategic plans and approaches we shall employ to combat cancer,” he explained.
The government is also decentralising cancer care and has equipped close to 90 County hospitals with mammography units. Plans are also underway to supply prostheses to cancer patients for free or at a subsidised cost.


Source : www.health.go.ke
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