Kenya Health Ministry to Enhance Access to Innovative Breast Cancer Treatment

The Ministry of Health, the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) and Roche have today signed Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) making Herceptin- an innovative breast cancer treatment available to all NHIF members without them having to top up the payment in cash. This is the first national access program for cancer medicines in Kenya and an important step to ensuring Kenyan women with breast cancer have access to a standard of care treatment. As part of the agreement, Roche will also support capacity building and training of NHIF and Ministry of Health employees by independent, external experts on data management, health economics, pricing, and reimbursement approaches. Furthermore, the agreement will see Roche continue to strengthen the screening and early diagnosis of patients as well as the referral pathways to the treatment centers.

Speaking at the signing of today’s MOU, Susan Mochache, Principal Secretary, Ministry of Health, said, “Cancer is one of the key public health challenges of our times. 6,000 cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in Kenya each year, causing suffering, emotional trauma, and financial stress. The Ministry of Health is already increasing screening and diagnostic services in National and County facilities countrywide to help reduce the burden of breast cancer. Today’s MOU with Roche represents the next step of our focus, ensuring that breast cancer patients can now get the care they need through the NHIF without a co-payment. This means that they can focus on their health and well-being and financial strain does not need to affect access.”

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Kenya, with 6,000 cases diagnosed each year and 2,500 breast cancer-related deaths taking place. The economic burden of breast cancer is substantial and reflects health care spending as well as lost productivity due to morbidity and premature death from cancer. Early detection combined with effective treatment through surgical removal, radiation therapy, or medication therapy (hormonal, chemical, or biological therapies) can achieve survival probabilities of 90% or higher.

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Written by Mercy ANURIKA

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