Nairobi, 31/10/2018… The National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) has spent KShs 1.36 billion this financial year (2018) as payment towards breast cancer treatment, up from KShs 1. 23 billion spent within the same period in 2017.
This amount was paid to beneficiaries through NHIFs Super Cover membership package which cover breast cancer patients comprehensively through the diagnosis stage, treatment stage, surveillance stage and pet scans. The Supa Cover membership card requires members to pay KShs 500 per month.
Breast Cancer is one of the top two cancers affecting women in Kenya and amongst the top four leading cancers treated by NHIF. There are 40,000 new cases annually as per the statistics given by the National Cancer institute of Kenya and 80% of those diagnosed with cancer are covered by the Fund. Kenya celebrates breast cancer week in the month of October.
NHIF covers six sessions for the first line treatment for up to KShs 25,000/ per session, and four (4) sessions for the second and third line treatment for up to KES 150,000/- per session. And 20 sessions of radiotherapy at KShs 3,600 per session. In case of a mastectomy or segmentectomy, which is the removal of the breast or part of it, NHIF covers this under the specialized surgery package for up to KShs 500,000.
In the near future, NHIF is looking into developing a wellness program that will promote screening of not only cancer but also all other chronic illness. This in turn will bring down the cost of treatment and bring up the survival rates of persons due to early diagnosis. This program will be for all NHIF members.
Breast cancer symptoms include change in skin texture on the breast, retraction of nipple, discharge from nipple, atypical fullness, and lumps. A doctor when presented with such symptoms will typically conduct histology/biopsy, which is removal of a tissue of the lump/ breast for further study. Biopsy is covered by NHIF under the surgical package, and a minor surgery is covered up to KShs 40,000. Radiology is also done during the diagnosis stage and this could include breast MRI, ultra sound, or CT-scan, which is also covered fully by NHIF.
To register with NHIF one requires a copy of the identity card/ valid passport for non-Kenyans, and colored passport photo. Registration can be done online through the NHIF website www.nhif.or.ke or at any NHIF branch or Huduma Center.