Kenya's public health insurer, pharmaceutical firm sign deal to boost access to prostate cancer drugs

Source: Xinhua| 2019-02-08 22:47:50|Editor: Chengcheng
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NAIROBI, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's public health insurer National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) and Janssen, one of the pharmaceutical companies of Johnson & Johnson, on Friday unveiled a joint partnership to enhance access to drugs for local prostate cancer patients.

Judy Otele, NHIF claims and benefits manager, said the agreement is part of the public health insurer's strategy to adopt a new low-cost service delivery model by embracing public-private partnerships (PPP).

"The prescription drug, Zytiga (Abiraterone) will be available to NHIF members from selected public and private medical facilities at a subsidized cost," said Otele.

Izaq Odongo, head of curative and rehabilitative services at the Ministry of Health, said that the government is focusing its efforts on strengthening health systems for universal health coverage as part of the National Cancer Control Strategy.

Odongo said that cancer is one of the major non-communicable diseases in Kenya and ranks third as a cause of death after infectious and cardiovascular diseases.

An estimated 40,000 new cancer cases are reported in Kenya annually while 28,000 patients succumb to the disease thanks to late diagnosis and prohibitive cost of treatment.

Odongo noted that currently more than 70 percent of cancer cases are diagnosed at late stage when treatment outcomes are poor and palliative care is usually the only management option available.