Kidney transplant patients want cost of drugs lowered

Patients who have undergone kidney transplant are now urging the government to petition National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) to include them in the cover. They are also appealing to the government for a waiver of costs of the medicines they take after the transplant. Currently, the government spends close to Sh80,000 per patient each month undergoing dialysis.

The amount is minus the cost of tests and medicines after dialysis. However, patients who have undergone transplant, which NHIF subsidises with Sh500, 000, are left to foot their own after-surgery care that includes tests and drugs, which comes to almost Sh50, 000 a month. NHIF does not cater for after-kidney transplant care.

This could, however, be reduced by half if the NHIF agrees to cater for patients who have undergone transplant. A patient who has undergone kidney transplant has to live on immuno-suppressant drugs throughout his or her lifetime.

Recounting their struggles before and after the transplant, a group of more than 70 patients who have been diagnosed, treated and are now recovering narrated how the disease is slowly draining hundreds of families both financially and emotionally.

Speaking at Thika Sports Club during a meeting which they hold after every two months, Kidney Transplant Support Group team leader Peter Maina said his aim of forming the group was to unite and have the members help one another.

“Sometimes we visit Kenyatta National Hospital only to find no medication. We are asking the government to intervene and subsidise our medication because most of us have suffered financially and we cannot stay without medication,” said Peter Mwaura, another patient. Prof Judith Kimiywe, a nutritionist, who took the patients through a three-hour training session on how to eat healthy called on other Kenyans to be cautious of the food they eat.

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