Lung Disease Programme
Maureen Kamene
National Hospital Insurance Fund
National Tuberculosis Leprosy

TB hidden costs defy free treatment plan

Despite having a free-service policy for treating tuberculosis (TB), patients still pay, thereby setting aside a huge chunk of their annual income to keep the killer at bay.

The national tuberculosis patients’ costs survey released last week reveals that a patient can spend up to Sh25,874 while on a six-month treatment programme. The cost is far higher for a patient with the drug resistant type that pays an average Sh145,110 while on a 20-month treatment.

Head of National Tuberculosis Leprosy and Lung Disease Programme Maureen Kamene said that the most economically viable age group of 15 to 34 years is experiencing the highest financial burden.

“Even with the current free diagnosis and treatment policy, the financial burden remains heavy on tuberculosis patients. There is a need to consider appropriate steps to lessen the burden of out-of-pocket costs for tuberculosis patients and how best to improve service delivery for poor patients,” she said.

There are certain elements of care that are not considered in the free service policy or covered by the National Hospital Insurance Fund.

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