Cancer treatment cost on the road to reduction - CS Kagwe

In Summary

•Kagwe spoke after his meeting with governors at the KNTRH where they discussed the development of the Integral Molecular  Imaging Center  which will offer Cancer screening, diagnostics, treatment, savourship and palliative care services.

•"Combine these with MRI units, a CT 256 Slice Unit and a national capacity to supply counties with radio-isotopes that can serve a minimum of 15 people daily and our oncological problems are drastically reduced," Kagwe said.

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe tours Embu Level Five Teaching And referral Hospital led by Governor Martin Wambora and his deputy David Kariuki
Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe tours Embu Level Five Teaching And referral Hospital led by Governor Martin Wambora and his deputy David Kariuki
Image: Reuben Githinji

Health CS Mutahi Kagwe has urged medical councils to review the cost of healthcare.

The CS said the government is engaging financiers of medical machinery and equipment to facilitate hospitals with long-term amortising periods.

Kagwe spoke on Wednesday after his meeting with governors at the KNTRH where they discussed the development of the Integral Molecular  Imaging Center  which will offer Cancer screening, diagnostics, treatment, savourship and palliative care services.

 
 

The fully comprehensive hospital is said to house the Cyclotone machine whose key function is to produce radio-isotopes or consumables which are used for early diagnosis.

The governors discussed how the isotopes will be distributed to referrals health facilities in counties to reduce the tiresome journeys to Nairobi in search of medical care.

"Combine these with MRI units, a CT 256 Slice Unit and a national capacity to supply counties with radio-isotopes that can serve a minimum of 15 people daily and our oncological problems are drastically reduced," Kagwe said.

The cost of purchasing the equipment, according to the CS, will be divided between national and county government.

He reiterated that the Ministry of Health is determined to bring down the cost of healthcare in the country.

Kagwe said that at least 35,000 Kenyans die of cancer annually due to poor screening, misdiagnosis of inaccessibility to treatment.

He noted that the trouble of importing the rare medical equipment had played a role in the spike of medical cost.

 

"The fact that we are going to make some of those consumables available locally also means that we should be able to bring the cost of healthcare down," he said.

 

"This medical equipment that we are putting here does not exist in Eastern and Central African regions. This means we are going to get a lot of people coming from a cross the borders, medical tourism is going to grow. So instead of charging and breaking even on the basis of few people, we can operate a volume based costing system."

Kagwe said the ministry hopes to reduce medical cost to be equivalent or less than that of India and Thailand.

He was echoed by KUTRRH, Board of Directors Chairperson Olive Mugenda who said the private sector will use the economies of scale to reduce cost of cancer treatment to at least 50 per cent. 

"In the private sector right now, the cost of a pepscan is about Sh75,000 but as the CS has said, we are going to use this economies of scale to bring this to less than 50 per cent of what is being charged in private sectors," she said.