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NHIF, firm unveil new plan for heart patients

Patients suffering from cardiac conditions can now breathe easy after the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) launched the Cardiac Programme that will cater for their medical bills.

The programme which will be launched in seven hospitals, including Karen Hospital, that have the capacity to offer the much-needed surgeries, will see more than 1,400 patients benefit up to a maximum of Sh500,000.

In a press statement, the strategic partnership between NHIF and A&K Global Health, a reputable international health management organisation to help in mapping out the most needy cases, will go along way in assisting the patients who are in bad condition, yet do not have the money to pay for the procedures and post-operative care.

Currently, there are only seven cardiothoracic surgeons in Kenya who can perform open-heart surgery and only six cardio-anesthetists and six perfusionists while the bed capacity at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) stands at 74.

A&K Global Health chief executive Stephen Makokha said the programme will be able to tackle the problem of cardiac disease and reduce the waiting period for heart patients at an affordable price.

“The Cardiac Programme is a result of years of concerted effort by NHIF to address both financial and clinical hurdles to Kenyans by utilising local expertise of doctors and state-of-the-art medical equipment found locally in our hospitals.

The programme is expected to tackle the problem of cardiac disease and reduce the waiting period for heart patients at an affordable price,” he said.

Makokha added that the programme will act as a great catalyst as it will encourage medical tourism which will allow citizens of other African countries to visit Kenya for their medical needs rather than travel overseas for expertise available within the continent.

In addition, he also said that local expertise would also encourage Kenyans to seek specialist care locally rather than travel to other countries for the same.

Karen Hospital chief executive, Dr Betty Gikonyo said the hospital is committed towards setting-up a full resident cardiac team to tackle the challenge which has been facing the health sector.

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