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Cost Of Kidney Disease Treatment in Kenya

We’ve been talking about kidney disease over the month of October. The question that arises is exactly how much management of the disease could cost a regular mwananchi. A kidney transplant recipient. Maureen Akhubi shared with us her journey managing chronic kidney disease.


“I was diagnosed with stage 5 kidney disease back in 2015,” Maureen said. For her to survive, the doctor presented her with two options. Either to get a transplant or do dialysis for the rest of her life. She chose the latter and survived on dialysis 2 times a week for 2 years. The cost of dialysis averages Ksh.19,000/week which translates to Ksh.76,000/month. NHIF pays for these sessions. However, Maureen had to cater for transport costs and the cost of medication. Like the cost of phosphorous binders. This is because dialysis removes only a little bit of phosphorus from the blood hence there is a need to reverse the phosphorous loss. This took a huge toll on her until her brother decided to donate one of his kidneys to her back in 2017.

Transplant


The journey was not as smooth even then. The first part was compatibility tests for both her and the brother. At this time they were both on medication even before the transplant. In 2017, it cost her around Ksh.200,000 to get the transplant. NHIF pays Ksh.130,000 for the donor and Ksh.500,000 for the recipient during transplant. This barely covers the total cost which goes to the tune of 800,000.
In the first few months after the transplant, she had to part with Ksh.50,000/month for medication. Fortunately, this amount has now gone down to Ksh.30,000/month.

According to Dr. John Ngigi, Head of Renal Unit Kenyatta National Hospital, kidney rejection is the biggest risk after a transplant. The presence of a foreign kidney can be detected by a body’s immune system. Thence one is put on immunosuppressants, for life, to weaken their immune system.

Covid-19 Pandemic


During the #COVID19 Pandemic Maureen has had to be extra cautious about contracting the disease. A simple cold or cough is dangerous to her now as opposed to before 2015. She is more gullible to contracting diseases due to the effect of the immunosuppressants.


Dr. John Ngigi says between 15-25% of people fall back to dialysis even after transplant due to the high cost of immunosuppressants as opposed to the ‘free’ dialysis. Even though a transplant is the best decision to make while managing #kidneydisease, it becomes quite an unattainable luxury for the common mwanachi.
In conclusion, adopting preventive health care to avoid or intercept these chronic illnesses is the safest way financially and health-wise as advised by John Gikonyo head of Renal Patients Society of Kenya.


Contact us via +254769687287 for home-based preventive healthcare tests or visit checks.sahlhealth.com for more

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