Sh40,000 a month drugs discourage kidney patients

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.


“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.”