The Ministry announced the start of the Herceptin (trastuzumab) subcutaneous injection program for cancer patients in Kenya without a co-payment.
The choice is the result of an MoU signed in June with Roche, a Swiss pharmaceutical company.
As long as they have an NHIF card, anyone with a diagnosis of breast cancer who is qualified for this medication will have access to the cutting-edge treatment with all 18 cycles fully covered.
Susan Mochache, the principal secretary for health, stated that the program is a crucial step in ensuring that Kenyans with breast cancer have access to high standards of treatment during the event, which also marked the opening of the Kenyatta University Teaching Research and Referral Hospital Breast Care Center of Excellence.
“The price of medications, particularly the patented innovator molecules that remain out of reach for the majority of patients, is the second critical cost driver in addition to late-stage diagnosis, which greatly contributes to the high cost of therapy.
We keep negotiating with the pharmaceutical industry to make these treatments more affordable for deserving Kenyans as part of our effort to make these high-quality innovative compounds available.
The arrangement, according to Roche East Africa General Manager Frank Loeffler, focuses on diagnosis, treatment, and funding.
The agreement, he said, “is an illustration of how the public and private sectors may work together to improve access to medical supplies and social safety nets.”
Valentin Zellweger, the Swiss ambassador to Kenya, predicted that the collaboration will significantly lower the number of cancer-related deaths brought on by delayed diagnosis and financial constraints.
The envoy claimed that a significant portion of the catastrophic health costs that drive many people into poverty are related to cancer treatment.
Unfortunately, the majority of diagnoses are made after the disease is already advanced and difficult to treat, which contributes to the low overall survival rate. The opening of this center and more like it in the future will speed up diagnostics, she claimed.
Ms. Mochache noted that the Ministry of Health has made enormous efforts to control the disease and is promoting awareness about breast cancer.
According to the PS, “we aspire to holistically address the control of cancer through the systematic application of evidence-based initiatives for prevention, screening, timely diagnosis, treatment, survivorship and palliative care, finance, monitoring and research.”
Ahmed Dagane, CEO of Kenyatta University Teaching Research and Referral Hospital, stated that the hospital would be able to offer a variety of services through the Center, including education, clinical breast examination, mammograms, breast ultrasound, breast MRI, biopsy, histopathology, immunohistochemistry, staging CT scans/PET scans and specialist consultation.