, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 7 – The National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) spent Sh65.3 million in the financial year 2017/ 2018 as payment for the treatment of 685 patients suffering from drug and substance abuse.
This is slightly less than half the amount the Fund paid for similar beneficiaries in the 2016/ 2017 financial year, where Sh115 million was paid for the treatment of 1,634 patients.
The NHIF drug rehabilitation package caters for treatment of admitted beneficiaries who suffer from the chronic use of drugs, including, alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, heroin, mandrax, and cocaine among others.
According to the 2017 NACADA Rapid Situation Assessment survey on drugs and substance abuse, alcohol abuse contributes the highest burden of substance use disorders (SUDs) in Kenya.
According to the data collected by the agency, the prevalence of alcohol use disorders among respondents aged 15 -65 years stood at 10.4 per cent in 2017.
Nairobi region has the highest prevalence of alcohol use disorders (18.4pc) followed by Western 13.1pc, Rift Valley 10.7pc, Eastern 10.6pc, Nyanza 9.6pc, Coast 8.7pc, Central 8.3pc and North Eastern 1.4pc.
Patients requiring rehabilitation are referred to the treatment centres by other hospitals, psychiatric doctors, churches police department and the Judiciary.
The rehabilitation cover includes a three stage treatment program that includes detoxification, rehabilitation and after care arrangements.
NHIF Benefits and Contracting Manager Gilbert Osoro said the package has been in operation for the last five years, but has suffered from low utilization due to the small number of accredited facilities for drug rehabilitation in the country.
“There is need to increase the number of rehabilitation centres countrywide to cater for the increased number of patients suffering from drugs and substance abuse in the country,” Osoro said.
Currently, there are five rehabilitation centres based in Nairobi and Kiambu counties Listed facilities include Chiromo Lane Medical Centre in Nairobi, The Retreat and The Raphaelites Red Hill place in Limuru town of Kiambu County, Mariakani nursing and Rehabilitation centres, and Brightside Drug Abuse & treatment Centre.
So far Mathari Mental Hospital is the only listed government institution and also serves as the national referral facility. There are GoK hospitals at Tertiary level (KNH and MTRH-level 6), County referral Hospitals at level 5 and Sub county referral hospitals at level 4 which have psychiatric wards and outpatient consulting clinics and deployed specialists.
These serve as referral centres to other facilities that lack the specialty as cases of drug and substance abuse disorders are filtered and forwarded for further management at the said institutions.
The NHIF scheme caters for rehabilitation treatment through a package based mode of payment which was enacted in 2011 following ratification and approval by the Board of Management.
A rate payable at Sh30,000 was stipulated per member seeking rehabilitation services at accredited healthcare providers per financial year and is still in use. The package caters for treatment of admitted beneficiaries who are conducted through a stay duration of three months on treatment.
Therapy involves monthly family sessions, group and individual counselling, residential drug free treatment, therapeutic community engagements and anonymous programmes for alcoholic and narcotic admission cases. The enumerated sequence covers a span of up to 90 days.