The National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) has spent Sh200 million on heart surgeries since October, highlighting the growing cases of lifestyle diseases among Kenyans.
The State-owned health insurer set aside half a billion shillings for cardiac surgery with members of the fund enjoying a benefit of up to Sh1.5 million for heart operation.
NHIF chief executive Geoffrey Mwangi said the cardiac surgery deal is a product of the rising number of Kenyans who could not afford to treat heart ailments.
The number of Kenyans dying from heart diseases is on the rise due to increase in incomes, leading to sedentary lifestyles and poor diet.
“The initial cardiac patients on the waiting list as at October last year stood at 1,435 and we have so far covered 262 cases. The numbers made the fund make the deliberate decision to act,” said Mr Mwangi during NHIF’s 50-year celebration in Nairobi.
“We had an initial budget of Sh500 million but we have already exhausted about Sh200 million for open heart surgeries and intervention operations.”
NHIF pays between Sh30,000 and Sh40,000 for minor surgeries for its members, up to Sh130,000 for major surgeries and a maximum of Sh500,000 for specialised surgeries
But Mr Mwangi said NHIF is paying up to Sh1.5 million for heart surgeries, underlining the cost of treating cardiac ailments.
“The amount has been varying from patients’ conditions, age, lower risk or higher risks as those who need more days in ICU,” he said.
The heart surgery plan was started last year in partnership with a global healthcare management company, A&K Global Health to treat heart patients in need of cardiac surgeries.