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Economy

Sh40,000 a month drugs discourage kidney patients

KNH
Kenyatta National Hospital. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Patients who need kidney transplants keep off the surgery due to the prohibitive cost of post-operations drugs.

John Ngigi, the head of the Renal Unit at Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH), said that patients instead opt for life-long dialysis — which is covered by the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF).

After surgery, one needs upto three drugs known as an immunosuppression treatment, which costs Sh40,000 a month. The drugs are to be taken for life.

The NHIF covers dialysis up to Sh18,000 per week for two sessions but does not insure the post-surgery kidney transplant medication.

“NHIF pays Sh500,000 for the surgery, which is good. However, the problem is the patients need lifelong drugs which cost about Sh40,000 a month in the first year and that is not covered by the insurer,” said Dr Ngigi.

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“NHIF is better off raising kidney transplant benefits because it would make more economic sense. Dialysis is Sh18,000 a week and in a year that is about Sh936,000 yet the post-transplant medication is Sh480,000 a year.”

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