Service business

Three out of seven KNH cancer devices out of service

Economy

Three out of seven KNH cancer devices out of service


A therapist uses a radiotherapy machine at Kenyatta National Hospital. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • Cabinet Secretary for Health Mutahi Kagwe told parliament on Thursday that the blackout prompted KNH to sign deals with private hospitals like Nairobi, MP Shah and Aga Khan Hospital for the treatment of patients.
  • KNH is preferred for cancer treatment because of its lower costs compared to private hospitals, which charge more for screening, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.
  • A radiotherapy session at KNH costs an average of Sh3,600, while private hospitals can charge up to Sh10,000 per session.

Three out of seven cancer screening and treatment machines at Kenyatta National and Referral Hospital (KNH) are out of service due to age and overuse, exposing patients to high costs.

Cabinet Secretary for Health Mutahi Kagwe told parliament on Thursday that the outage prompted KNH to sign deals with private hospitals like Nairobi Hospital, MP Shah and the Aga Khan for the treatment of patients , adding to the already high cost of disease management.

“In order to protect cancer patients from the suffering caused by permanent machine breakdowns, KNH has entered into partnerships with hospitals such as the Aga Khan who still offer the same services to patients at NHIF-approved rates,” said Mr. Kagwe.

KNH is preferred for cancer treatment because of its lower costs compared to private hospitals, which charge more for screening, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.

A radiotherapy session at KNH costs an average of Sh3,600, while private hospitals can charge up to Sh10,000 per session. Fees vary depending on the drugs used and the type of cancer being treated.

KNH’s cancer treatment machines broke down with increasing frequency, causing some patients to wait up to two years after booking to get treatment.

One of the three broken machines was purchased in 2000 while the other two were acquired in 2017. Mr. Kagwe did not disclose why the two are not working given that they are relatively new and within their lifespan. expected life of 10 years.

The ministry says the cancer treatment machines have a lifespan of ten years, but one has been in use for 22 years to lift the lid on KNH’s financial constraints that have hampered efforts to purchase new machines.

Mr. Kagwe said the government planned to purchase three machines to replace those that had broken down. Referrals to private hospitals deprived the KNH of revenue in the form of medical reimbursements from the NHIF.

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