NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 12 – Respiratory diseases account for the highest hospital spend in Kenya, according to a leading Health Maintenance Organisation (HMO).
Resolution Insurance General Manager Commercial Services James Wanjohi says treatment of some common problems of the respiratory system such as asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, laryngitis, pneumonia and influenza accounted for the highest spend for each of the diagnosis category.
“Diseases of the respiratory system and parasitic diseases still take the highest percentage of the hospital bills due to the lifestyle and environmental factors which contribute majorly to the causes,” Wanjohi said during the second Annual Wellness Summit in Nairobi.
He said Resolution Insurance paid medical bills amounting to Sh991.6 million last year to treat various diseases ailing its members with diseases of the respiratory system; digestive system; certain infectious and parasitic diseases and genitourinary system still accounting for the largest hospital bills spend.
“Some common problems of the respiratory system such as asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, laryngitis, pneumonia and influenza accounted for the highest spend for each of the diagnosis category,” Wanjohi explained.
Looking at children under the age of five, he said that immunisation and improved environment plays a major role in the prevention of the contagious diseases.
For the age group between 11 and 20 years, diseases of the respiratory system account for 22 percent followed by digestive system at 16 percent while 7 percent is caused by injuries.
“Public education to create awareness on the importance of hygiene and emphasis to personal and community responsibility on maintaining good health hygiene is what is required,” he said quoting a Disease Trend Report compiled from its 60,000 members for last year.
Speaking during the same event Dr Charles Kamotho, a cardiologist, said that children, adults and the elderly are all vulnerable to the risk factors that contribute to non-communicable diseases whether from; unhealthy diets, physical inability, exposure to tobacco and the effects of the harmful use of alcohol.
“These diseases are driven by forces that include ageing, rapid unplanned urbanization, and the globalization of unhealthy lifestyles,” he said; adding that 150 minutes of physical exercise per week is very healthy.
He noted that Africa has the highest number of people dying of hypertension and diabetes which can be prevented by implementing effective measures for prevention and control.
“A conceited committed effort from the health industry and use of technology has a major role as far as healthcare is concerned. We need accurate systems of measurement, proper advice and treatment, continuity of care as well as patient access to treatment,” he said.