April 2017 BusinessDaily; The National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) payouts for dialysis is the single largest claims, highlighting the growing cases of kidney ailments among Kenyans.
Official records indicate that 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.
NHIF received 86,776 claims for the dialysis sessions in the first half compared to 37,177 in the same period a year ago, underlying the increasing cases of kidney ailments brought home by lifestyle disease.
Official data show that about four million Kenyans have some form of kidney ailment.
The disease is often caused by other conditions that put a strain on the kidneys.
High blood pressure (hypertension) and diabetes are the most common causes of kidney disease.
High blood pressure, for instance, is reported to cause just over a quarter of all cases of kidney failure.
Only two public hospitals — Kenyatta National Hospital and Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret — have the capacity to conduct kidney transplants at subsidised rates.
About 8,000 kidney patients were on dialysis at KNH early last year. A session costs 5,000.
Private hospitals like MP Shah in Nairobi offers dialysis at Sh9,500 per session under the NHIF cover.
Acute kidney patients on dialysis are often referred for transplants.
The NHIF pays Sh500,000 for a kidney transplant at private hospitals like MP Shah.
The hospital charges Sh2 million for each transplant outside the NHIF cover, underlining the huge benefits of the government-backed cover, especially for low income households.
Official data shows that NHIF paid Sh1.2 million in the half year period for kidney transplants, involving 30 patients.