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NHIF To Fully Pay for Cancer After MoU With Swiss

NHIF To Fully Pay for Cancer After MoU With Swiss

In a partnership with the Ministry of Health and a Swiss pharmaceutical company, the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) will pay in full for a breast cancer treatment.

In Kenya, members of the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) will receive Herceptin (trastuzumab) subcutaneous injections free of charge, as announced by the Ministry.

The decision is the culmination of an MOU signed with Swiss pharmaceutical manufacturer Roche in June.

If they have an NHIF card, all 18 cycles of this revolutionary treatment will be reimbursed for anyone diagnosed with breast cancer who is qualified for it.

During the event, which coincided with the opening of the Kenyatta University Teaching Research and Referral Hospital Breast Care Centre of Excellence, the Principal Secretary for Health, Susan Mochache, stated that the scheme is an essential step in ensuring that Kenyans with breast cancer have access to high-quality treatment.

“Apart from late-stage diagnosis, which contributes significantly to the high cost of treatment, the other key cost driver is the price of medicines, particularly the patented innovator molecules which remain out of reach for the majority,” Ms Mochache said yesterday. 

In an effort to make available these innovative molecules of excellent quality, we continue to engage with the pharmaceutical sector to make these medications more accessible to deserving Kenyans.

Diagnosis and connections

Frank Loeffler, general manager of Roche East Africa, stated that the contract focuses on diagnosis, treatment, and financing.

“The MoU is an example of how the public and the private sector can work hand in hand to improve access to medical products and social protection mechanisms,” he said.

The Swiss ambassador to Kenya, Valentin Zellweger, stated that the alliance would significantly contribute to lowering the number of cancer-related deaths caused by delayed diagnosis and lack of funding.

The envoy stated, “Cancer treatment is a major contribution to catastrophic health expenditures that force many into poverty.”

The Principal Secretary for Health stated that the centre of excellence aligns with the government’s aim to lessen the burden of breast cancer by providing rapid detection and care connections for those diagnosed with the disease under one roof.

“Unfortunately, most of the diagnosis is in the late stages of the disease when it is difficult to achieve a cure, hence a low overall survival rate.

“The establishment of this centre and similar ones in future will reduce the time to diagnosis,” she said. 

Ms. Mochache noted that the Ministry of Health is boosting awareness of breast cancer and exerting enormous efforts to combat the disease.

“We seek to comprehensively address cancer control through the systematic implementation of evidence-based interventions for prevention, screening, timely diagnosis, treatment, survivorship and palliative care, financing, monitoring and research,” the PS said.

The CEO of the Kenyatta University Teaching Research and Referral Hospital, Ahmed Dagane, stated that the hospital would be able to offer a variety of services through the Centre, including breast health education, clinical breast examination, mammograms, breast ultrasound, breast MRI, biopsy, histopathology, immunohistochemistry, staging CT scans/PET scans, and specialist consultation.

The introduction is anticipated to increase the number of breast cancer patients undergoing treatment at the center, he noted.

“The centre has been attending to an average of 20 patients daily. Upon this official launch, we look forward to attending to at least 50 for screening, early diagnosis and treatment,” Mr Dagane said.

Breast cancer is a disorder in which breast cells develop uncontrollably. There are various types of breast cancer.

The type of breast cancer relies on which breast cells become malignant.

Breast cancer can begin in several breast locations. A breast consists primarily of lobules, ducts, and connective tissue.

The lobules are the milk-producing glands. The ducts are tubes that transport milk to the mammary gland. Connective tissue (comprised of fibrous and fatty tissue) encompasses and binds everything together.

Majority of breast cancers start in the ducts or lobules.

Through blood vessels and lymph vessels, breast cancer can spread outside the breast.

The process by which breast cancer spreads to other parts of the body is known as metastasis. Most prevalent types of breast cancer include…

Invasive ductal carcinoma. The cancer cells originate in the ducts and subsequently spread to other regions of the breast tissue. Invasive cancer cells can potentially metastasis, or spread to other organs.

Invasive lobular carcinoma. Cancer cells originate in the lobules and subsequently spread from the lobules to the nearby breast tissues.

Additionally, these invasive cancer cells can travel to other organs.

Other uncommon forms of breast cancer include Paget’s disease, medullary, mucinous, and inflammatory breast cancers.

DCIS is a breast condition that may progress to invasive breast cancer. The cancer cells are confined to the duct lining and have not disseminated to other breast tissues.

Breast cancer is the most frequent type of cancer in women. Millions of women worldwide have died from breast cancer, which is easily preventable.

According to a research by the National Cancer Registry Program and the National Centre for Disease Informatics and Research, the estimated number of cancer cases among women in 2020 is approximately two lakhs and is expected to reach approximately 2.3 lakhs by 2025.

The occurrences of breast cancer are at an all-time high, with lack of awareness resulting in late diagnosis being the primary cause.

As the name suggests, asymptomatic breast tumors are characterized by the absence of visible or detectable symptoms.

In such instances, the disease may have metastasized, or spread to other sections of the body from its original place.

Generally, metastatic breast cancer is diagnosed in its advanced stages, when treatment options become more intrusive.

However, late stages of cancer can be avoided with early detection testing.

Once a year, women over the age of 40 must visit their gynecologists for a clinical breast exam.

In addition, low-risk cases must undergo mammography every two years.

Due to the lack of a foolproof prevention approach, breast cancer diagnosis is the most critical factor in improving survival rates.

The earlier a disease is detected, the greater the possibility of preventing its spread. Numerous symptoms are related with breast cancer; therefore, monthly self-exams are strongly suggested.

Every woman above the age of 20 must perform monthly breast exams on herself. The ‘look’ and ‘feel’ are the two most crucial factors to consider during a self-exam.

Examine the nipple for lumps, contour changes, dimpling or bulging skin, and any nipple alterations such as position changes, swelling, or nipple inversion.

Any fluid leakage, especially if stained with blood, or breast secretions could be a warning indication and must be reported promptly to a healthcare practitioner.

This is the initial step in diagnosing breast tumors with symptoms.

Self-breast examination is a simple way for early detection; therefore, it is essential to perform this practice routinely.

However, it is impossible to ignore the significance of clinical breast exams, especially beyond age 40.

In addition, your doctor may urge you to undergo diagnostic and imaging screenings, such as mammograms or breast ultrasounds, as well as genetic counseling, as necessary.

NHIF To Fully Pay for Cancer After MoU With Swiss


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