Bottomline: A disease that has proven to be a rich mans’ nightmare and a poor mans’ headache exposing financial vulnerability of many families, each family is a cancer away from poverty, abject poverty.
Its no secret that cancer is the most feared disease in the history of human kind,it has overtaken HIV/AIDs and the occasional Ebola as the most feared disease in African while it remains a greater headache for the world at large – at least many parts of the world.
Cancer is a group of diseases involving abnormal cell growth with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body. These contrast with benign tumors, which do not spread to other parts of the body.According to a research orchestrated and compiled by World Health Organisation (W.H.O), In America, the malady places itself as one amongst the leading cause of death just as any other part of the world would ostensibly have it. Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, Uganda,Morocco, Tunisia, U.S.A, Britain, the list is endless.
For instance, just to shade some light… American Cancer Society (A.C.S) estimated that about 1.7 million new cases of cancer would be diagnosed one year shy of 2018. Their prediction actually and of course technically did come to pass. Today, in America more than 15 million citizens have been affected directly or indirectly with cancer, they have a cancer history.
In Kenya every family has lost someone or has someone who is battling cancer with constant funds drive campaigns occasioned by setting up of paybill numbers all over social media as Kenyans seek to contribute towards further medical attention. India has become the second home for Kenyans in their fight against cancer courtesy of its advanced healthcare systems.
A disease that has proven to be a rich mans’ nightmare and a poor man headache, it has exposed the financial vulnerability of many families as each family is a cancer away from poverty, abject poverty. A disease that comes in different forms capable of affecting any part of the body be it the skin,blood,liver,colon or intestine no matter the individuals lifestyle or exposure to hazardous elements that may trigger the cancer. Cases of people who have never drunk alcohol having liver and pancreatic cancers’ are on a rise. Cancer victims range from children,youths to the elderly
Within the boundaries of our Kenya, health institutions; many if not most are grappling with overstretched facilities. The Ministry of Health has come up with measures to contain the situation through campaigns for early and regular cancer screening to subsidizing of treatment cost though corruption within the Ministry remains the greatest cancer it hasn’t been able to contain as far as the war against cancer is concerned.
The government has tried to improve,outsource and construct of treatment centres to cater for all cancer patients – equipment have on numerous occasions been bought from overseas. Improvement of Insurance plans covering their citizens notwithstanding paying for part of the patients insurance premiums.The recent being importation of Cuban specialist doctors who will help their Kenyan counterparts in mitigating the pangs of cancer. Albeit all these remarkable doings, Kenya still faces the challenges of having to bear with cancer’s cost.
According to yet again another (W.H.O) research report, findings stipulated that access to quality health care and insurance is essential to making cancer care affordable to patients and survivors. Similarly a lower premium insurance plan may not actually save cancer patients’ money. Such plans usually have high cost Sharing and cancer patients highly depend on regular care on and off hospital.
Kenya as a country with policy makers at both national and county levels has failed in formulation of policies and measures to mitigate cancer patients’ costs,ensuring that citizens have access to comprehensive health covers that are adequate, affordable and available.
The aforementioned authoritative individuals should also provide citizens with access to low- cost prevention and early detection services; at least by the year 2030. It is presumed that preventing cancer and diagnosing it earlier can reduce patients’ cost. Health policies have to be established in parliament by our legislators. Policies covering preventive,curative and post preventive measures alongside affordability to patients. Reducing tobacco usage and exposure to second hand smoke, promoting healthy eating habits and lifestyle changes that might expose one to cancer.
Types of cancer treatments include surgery, radiation therapy which involves usage of high energy particles to damage or destroy malignant cancer cells. Some patients will receive radiation therapy daily, others several times a week. But it all varies depending on the type and stage of cancer diagnosed.We also have Pharmacological therapy as a third method of cancer treatment. This covers treatment plans including the prominent chemo therapy, targeted therapy, hormone therapy, supportive care, like pain or anti – nausea medication mentioning only but a few.
Apart from the direct cost of cancer which has financial implications, indirect costs also exist. Not limited to including loss of job, mental health services, the cost of special food/diet, disability, care giving costs and transportation costs to and fro medical facility areas.
Most insurance cover plans in Kenya have grouped the types of cancer and the schemes they do fit in in process of insuring individuals. For instance breast cancer falls under employer – sponsored insurance, colorectal cancer falls in Medicare plan while lung cancer is under individual market plan.
Cancer is a life threatening and an extremely expensive malady which requires all hands on deck thus concerted efforts from the government, NGO’s, civil society, survivors and celebrities to educate citizens on ways to possibly avoid the illness through their respective lifestyles. Ordinary citizens need to make health a priority by showing willingness to receive any scientific – proven remedy positively as per research outcomes.
Inter-state cooperation in containing cancer through pulling resources together to further research in cancer to facilitate faster discovery of cure.Without proper cringe- worthy measures, we cannot fancy a cancer – free future nor feel proud of a past that was cancer-less. We shall live footing six – figure bills, or even more, courtesy of cancer as more planes head to India as different families lineup at Safaricom offices requesting Paybill numbers for funds mobilization for their affected Kin.