Kenya: Charity Offers to Pay U.S.$970,000 Bill for Cancer Patients

A cancer patient receives treatment in hospital under the watchful eye of a doctor (file photo).
14 November 2018

At least 50 cancer patients will get financial support from Faraja Medical Fund after if received more Sh100 million in donations to help pay for bills not covered by insurance.

The fund announced Wednesday in Nairobi that it will absorb out-of-pocket costs for eligible patients such as surgery, brachytherapy, chemotherapy, radiation and hormonal therapy.

VETTED

Officials at the charity said that to qualify for a grant, individuals must submit an application form to be vetted monthly by members of an expert panel.

The selection criteria will be based on the financial status of the applicant, type of cancer, prognosis and age.

SUPPORT

Faraja has been in existence for eight years. It has, however, only been providing emotional support to patients and their care-givers through free complementary therapies, information, support groups, art and music therapy for children with cancer at Kenyatta National Hospital.

Faraja's outreach programmes have helped patients through their chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments.

DEMAND

However, officials said that with the increased cancer burden in Kenya, there is a higher demand for financial assistance to patients.

With the number of patients diagnosed with cancer having risen from 20,000 to 40,000 annually, and the need for timely and good medical intervention being paramount, the situation has been dire.

The waiting list at Kenyatta National Hospital -- one of the public health facilities that takes in referral cancer cases -- has perennially been long and National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) does not cover all the treatment costs.

BARRIERS

Faraja Founder and Trustee Shaira Adamali said: "We have identified that access and affordability to cancer healthcare is one of the biggest barriers to survival in Kenya."

She said that the fund had received Sh5 million from Mr Mwai Kamau of Adanna Holdings, whose donation had helped them reach their target of Sh100 million in two years.

REPRIEVE

"This does not mean that we have stopped fundraising. With the increased cancer burden, the more money we raise, the more patients we are able to save," Ms Adamali said.

Faraja Medical Support Fund was launched in November 2016. It targets 50 patients yearly for continual treatment, giving reprieve to poor patients who would not have afforded treatment.

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