The National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF), Ministry of Health (MOH), and Roche Kenya Limited have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at the Kenyatta University, Teaching, Referral and Research Hospital to fight against breast cancer.
Health Principal Secretary (PS) Susan Mochache said that over 42,000 cancer cases are reported annually, out of which 6,000 are diagnosed with breast cancer with over 70 percent mortality rate.
This partnership mainly aims at easing the financial burden that cancer patients go through in fighting cancer.
“The Ministry is working hard to strengthen the capacity of hospitals to deal with cancer considering the burden currently at the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital where we have Radio Therapy services that are being provided thus improving access to people living in the western part of the country,” said Mochache.
She explained that at the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH), the MOH is in the process of getting an additional Linear Accelerator machine to strengthen service delivery and reduce time wastage.
Mochache stated that the government is working closely with the pharmaceutical industry to ensure that they find a mechanism of making sure the cancer treatment cost is not catastrophic to the patients.
NHIF Chief Executive Officer Dr. Peter Kamunyo praised the partnership with Roche, a leading cancer drug distributor in the country, saying that this will cut the cost of treating cancer by at least 50 percent from the current Sh30, 000-40,000, down to between Sh15, 000-20,000.
“This partnership mainly aims to ensure that the most common cancer affecting women in this country are able to be financially protected to manage their health with ease,” said Kamuyo.
Kamuyo further stated that NHIF is going undergoing reforms to scale up and ensure that every Kenyan is able to access the health care that they need without going through financial hardships basically through the introduction of packages such as the Renal care packages, surgical packages and the oncology packages.
To cut costs, Roche has negotiated on provision of the Innovator Molecule which is a targeted therapy to cancer patients thus being able to complete the treatment journey at an affordable cost hence control the cancer.
Currently cancer treatment services are offered in all the national referral hospitals and some Level 5 hospitals. The government has as well committed to improve cancer management through MOH and partnership with other international partners in an effort to reduce the cancer mortality rate.
By Sammy Macharia