Expedite implementation of new NHIF policies, Kenyans urge government
As killer cancer disease continues to devastate lives across the country, the government has been urged to expedite implementation of new national health insurance policies that will see patients battling the illness get full treatment cover.
Former Thika town MP Alice Ng’ang’a further argued that the disease which accounts for over 9 per cent of all deaths in the country should be accorded serious attention by the government similar to that accorded to Covid-19.
The disease is ranked third amongst the leading causes of death after Malaria and Pneumonia ailments.
Speaking after the memorial service of Pastor Catherine Wanjiru, the managing director of Thika-based Jubilee Feed Industries Ltd who succumbed to the disease last week, Ng’ang’a regretted that thousands of families have been impoverished by the expensive costs of treating the disease.
While most families suffer silently as they cannot afford the huge treatment costs, the former legislator implored the government to declare the disease a national disaster so as to attract the necessary attention both locally and internationally.
“Even the seemingly well-up families have been rendered poor by this disease which I think should be declared a pandemic and a national disaster. It is high time the government starts giving the killer disease the serious attention it deserves,” she said.
Key attention to the disease, she said, will enable Kenyans to get screened and attended to early enough for its easier manageability.
She urged counties across the country to establish cancer care centres to avert loss of productive Kenyans.
The former lawmaker also eulogized Juja MP Francis Munyua Waititu who also succumbed to the disease on Monday evening after battling it for three years.
Her call to have NHIF cover cancer patients was echoed by Thika residents who decried the huge costs they are left to grapple when their loved ones are found to be having the disease.
Led by Stanley Muiruri and John Njoroge, the residents insisted that NHIF should reorganize its cancer insurance plan so as to pay for the entire treatment and care, instead of limited prescriptions to save families financial difficulties.
“The low-income earners are the most affected as they can hardly afford the millions in bills that hospitals demand for treatment of their patients. Some of us cannot even afford to pay our basic bills. We urge the government to forge an equal ground for treatment of the killer disease,” said Muiruri.
Statistics by the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) show that at least 68 per cent of families with cancer patients experience financial hardships, 53 per cent of whose recovery is affected by lack of funds, while six per cent of families sell their properties to offset bills leaving them impoverished.