KENYA – Kenya’s Ministry of Health, through the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF), has entered into a strategic partnership pact with Roche Kenya Limited aimed at improving access to lifesaving breast cancer treatment and reducing long-term drug costs.

According to the Health Ministry, cancer accounts for approximately 10 percent of all disease mortalities in Kenya with 42,000 new cancer cases and 27,000 deaths reported every year. Moreover, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Kenya with 6,000 cases diagnosed each year.

The major breast cancer causes and risk factors accounting for more than 2,500 breast cancer-related deaths in the country include radiation exposure, genetic mutations and family history, lifestyle changes, obesity, advanced age and late diagnosis.

However, 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.

Subsequently, the Ministry of Health, the national social health insurer and Roche have partnered to make an innovative breast cancer treatment known as Herceptin SC available to all NHIF members without co-payment, a fixed out-of-pocket amount paid by an insured for covered health services.

The cancer care collaboration comes at a time when the economic burden of breast cancer in Kenya is substantial which can be observed significantly through health care spending as well as lost productivity due to morbidity and premature death from cancer.

The partnership between the health ministry and Roche has inaugurated the first national access program for cancer medicines in Kenya which is an important step towards ensuring Kenyan women with breast cancer have access to standard of care treatment.

The agreement focused on health and wellbeing will help alleviate suffering, emotional trauma and financial stress experienced by breast cancer patients and their families during the cancer care journey as cancer remains one of the key public health challenges of our times.

The partnership will complement ongoing efforts by the Ministry of Health to increase screening and diagnostic services in National and County health facilities countrywide to help reduce the burden of breast cancer.

For instance, Kenyatta University Teaching, Research and Referral Hospital as a cancer center of excellence in oncology care is already facilitating access for our cancer patients to early diagnosis and quality cancer care.

Pharma and diagnostics giant Roche will also support capacity building and training of NHIF and Ministry of Health employees on data management, health economics, pricing and reimbursement approaches conducted by independent, external experts.

In addition, the world’s largest biotechnology company will continue to strengthen the screening and early diagnosis of breast cancer patients along with the referral pathways to the treatment centers while ensuring that patients can needed care through the NHIF without a co-payment.

The partnership will ensure efficiency and value for money for NHIF members who receive treatment for breast cancer. The two institutions have negotiated a price that fits well within the NHIF capitation for breast cancer treatment,” said Susan Mochache, Health Principal Secretary.

Susan Mochache further said that Roche will supply Herceptin SC in public hospitals offering oncology treatment through a model that will ensure NHIF members do not dig deep into their pocket to access care and ultimately improve people’s lives.

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