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NHIF good, but not enough for poor cancer patients - oncologist

Kenya's Texas Cancer Centre founder Catherine Nyongesa in an undated photo. /COURTESY
Kenya's Texas Cancer Centre founder Catherine Nyongesa in an undated photo. /COURTESY

An oncologist has asked the government to extend extra help to poor Kenyans who are battling cancer and the same time struggling to pay NHIF subscriptions.

Catherine Nyongesa, founder of Texas Cancer Centre in Kenya, says this will be of help to cancer patients from poor households that are struggling to raise the Sh500 NHIF monthly contribution.

She said it is regrettable that the insurance does not cover complex forms of cancer.

Speaking to the Star on Tuesday, Dr Nyongesa said that some patients who visit her facility are unable to get treatment due to poverty, "although she has been kind enough to assist them."

"A patient on Chemotherapy pays Sh150,000 for six circles which require four to five months while complex Chemotherapy patients pay Sh600,000 for four circles which NHIF does not pay," she said.

Nyongesa urged the government to intervene so as to help cancer patients and complement what her facility has done since 2010.

She says the facility has received approximately 10,000 patients since 2010, a majority of whom are poor hence lack cash for their treatment.

"I receive 100 patients a month and offer radiotherapy to 100 patients daily from Monday to Friday. I also do Chemotherapy to 20 patients daily."

The oncologist, quoting a research by Clogan, said esophagus, prostate, and cervical cancers are the most common types affecting people globally.

She further clarified that ARV users are at a threat of getting cancer since most of the drugs are carcinogenic.

Nyongesa acknowledged the efforts made by the government to achieve universal health coverage.