NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 12 – The Government is reviewing the National Health policy to effectively factor the needs of patients suffering from non communicable diseases.
Prime Minister Raila Odinga announced that the government will in the next few months launch a new policy whose key objective will focus on the social and economic implication of non communicable ailments in the wake of increased cases of such diseases.
“As we change policy we must also think about how to make Medicare both accessible and affordable to all Kenyans who are living just one disease away from bankruptcy or death” he said.
“As we consolidate gains we have made in controlling infectious diseases, we must also strengthen our systems to face this new threat of non communicable diseases,” he added.
The Premier made the plans known on Thursday when he presided over the launch of a multibillion diabetes treatment and management pilot project at Kanyariri dispensary in Dagoretti.
The Danish funded “The Base of The Pyramid Project” is expected to create awareness about diabetes and facilitate access to treatment of the now common disease in the country.
Odinga who was joined by Danish Trade Minister Pia Olsen and the local Medical services counterpart Prof Anyang Nyongo expressed fears that non communicable diseases now accounted for almost half of the hospital deaths in Kenya.
“The rapid increase in diabetes and other non communicable diseases is attributable to the exposure to the risk factors such as tobacco use, unhealthy diets alcohol abuse physical inactivity and exposure to environmental position,” he insisted.
The Premier regretted that the cost of Medicare was becoming beyond the reach of even the middle class hence the need to develop a universal medical insurance to cushion the least fortunate members of the society.
“A hospital bed is more expensive in Nairobi than a bed in five star hotel, we need to address issues of access,” said the PM saying that he was part of a contribution to hospital fees for a person whose bill had accumulated to Sh 10 million after two months.
Nyongo said a proposal to develop a special insurance Fund to cover patients suffering from difficult diseases but asked victims of such terminal ailments to positively appreciate their position.
The Pyramid projects which the Danish insulin making company Novo Nordisk is the key sponsor of the initiative was also rolled out in eight other developing countries.