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KNH in talks to help local kidney patients

Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) and the state health insurer are in talks to raise kidney transplant benefits above Sh500,000 to recover additional treatment costs.

The referral hospital talks with the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) comes as the cost of the transplants remains unchanged for nearly seven years.

KNH in 2015 talked of increasing the transplant costs to about Sh600,000 from the current Sh500,000, putting additional burden on households struggling with rising kidney ailments.

“We are still at Sh500,000 not because the economy has not changed but because NHIF is currently paying. The cost is the same for those paying out-of-pocket,” said KNH chief executive LilyKoros.

“The board will make the decision whether or not to increase the Kidney transplant costs for all patients after deliberations with the NHIF.”
Transplants are normally done for acute kidney patients going through dialysis.

Hospitals such as MP Shah charge Sh2 million for kidney transplants, underlining the huge benefits of the government-backed cover, especially for low income households.

READ: Kidney crisis emerges as dialysis tops NHIF claims

NHIF new benefits cover terminal diseases with insurance for chemotherapy, MRI scan and specialised surgery.

The fund spent Sh10.5 million on transplants in the six months to December.

Its payout for dialysis is the single largest benefits payments, highlighting the growing cases of kidney ailments among Kenyans.

The State-owned insurer paid hospitals Sh839.9 million in the six months to December, up from Sh139.8 million in a similar period a year earlier—reflecting a fivefold growth.

The disease is often caused by other conditions that put a strain on the kidneys.

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