Kenya Ministry Of Health, NHIF And Roche Sign MoUs That Will Provide Herceptin Subcutaneous Injection To Patients Insured By The NHIF In Kenya Without Copayment

The Ministry of Health, the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) and Roche announced today that they have signed Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) making Herceptin (trastuzumab) subcutaneous injection (SC) available without copayment to all NHIF members. This is the first national access program for cancer medicines in Kenya and an important step to ensuring Kenyan women with breast cancer have access to standard of care treatment. As part of the agreement, Roche will also support capacity building and training of NHIF and Ministry of Health employees by independent, external experts on data management, health economics, pricing and reimbursement approaches. Furthermore, the agreement will see Roche continue to strengthen the screening and early diagnosis of patients as well as the referral pathways to the treatment centers.

The signing of today’s agreements marks the latest step in a longstanding partnership between Roche, the Kenyan Ministry of Health and key stakeholders who have been the pioneers of enabling Universal Healthcare Coverage (UHC) for women with cancer. It builds on the foundation laid through the 16 EMPOWER Clinics (Enabling and Motivating Partnership Owned by Women to Engage and Reclaim their lives) in different counties of Kenya. EMPOWER is a unique partnership with the government of Kenya, County referral hospitals, County First Ladies Association, International Cancer Institute, patient organizations and Roche Kenya to demonstrate integrated cancer prevention and treatment within primary healthcare.

Speaking at the signing of today’s MOU, Susan Mochache, Principal Secretary, Ministry of Health, said, “Cancer is one of the key public health challenges of our times. 6,000 cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in Kenya each year, causing suffering, emotional trauma and financial stress. The Ministry of Health is already increasing screening and diagnostic services to help reduce the burden of breast cancer. Today’s MOU with Roche represents the next step of our focus, ensuring that breast cancer patients can now get the care they need through the NHIF without a co-payment. This means that they can focus on their health and well-being and financial strain does not need to affect access.”

L-R: Huwaida Bulhan, Senior Clinical Operations Lead Sub Sahara Africa, Roche, Jacqueline Wambua, Head of Government Affairs, East Africa, Roche, NHIF Board Chair Hon Lewis Nguyai, Principal Secretary, Ministry of Health Hon. Susan Mochache, NHIF CEO Dr. Peter Kamunyo, Dr. Mary Nyangasi, Head, Division of National Cancer Control Programme Ministry of Health and Dr Ruth Irumbi, Chief Operations Officer at at Kenyatta University Teaching Research and Referral Hospital pose for a photo during the signing ceremony for MOUs with Roche Kenya regarding improving access to cancer treatment at Kenyatta University Teaching Research and Referral Hospital.

Also speaking at the signing of the MOU was Dr. Peter Kamunyo, Chief Executive Officer at National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF). Dr Kamunyo said, “Access to treatment is a key component of Universal Health Coverage so signing this MOU is an important step forward for both women with breast cancer and all citizens in Kenya generally. Supporting people when they are affected by breast cancer and ensuring that they can access treatment without a co-payment means that these women and their families will reduce their financial stress and ensure that we are creating a healthcare system where we leave no one behind.”

“We are proud of the work achieved in partnership with the Ministry of Health and NHIF in overcoming multiple access barriers to standard of care treatments for breast cancer patients in Kenya. The ability to allow patients, regardless of their financial situation, and regardless of where they live in Kenya access to life saving treatments is a significant step forward for the quality of care for Kenyan women with breast cancer,” said Frank Loeffler, General Manager Roche East Africa, “With this program we reiterate our commitment to a healthier future for all people in Africa and the importance of the integration of non-communicable diseases into Universal Health Care programs.”

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Kenya, with 6,000 cases diagnosed each year and 2,500 breast cancer-related deaths taking place. The economic burden of breast cancer is substantial and reflects health care spending as well as lost productivity due to morbidity and premature death from cancer. Early detection combined with effective treatment through surgical removal, radiation therapy or medication therapy (hormonal, chemical or biological therapies) can achieve survival probabilities of 90% or higher.

About Herceptin (trastuzumab)  

Herceptin® is a humanised monoclonal antibody designed to target and block the function of the HER2 receptor, a protein found on the outside of many normal cells and in high quantities on the outside of cancer cells in HER2-positive cancers. Herceptin binds to a specific section of the HER2 protein, inhibiting the signals it sends that encourage tumour cell growth, while also calling on the body’s immune system to attack the cancer cells.

Since it was first approved in 1998, Herceptin has been used to treat over two million patients worldwide, diagnosed with HER2-positive breast and gastric cancers. It has also become the backbone of other innovative treatments for HER2-positive breast cancer, which have continued to improve the outcomes of patients with this otherwise aggressive disease. In addition to the standard intravenous formulation, Herceptin is available in a subcutaneous (SC) formulation which was first approved in 2013. Herceptin SC represents a significant step forward in the treatment of HER2-positive breast cancer as it offers patients a faster, more convenient and less painful way to receive treatment with Herceptin.

About Roche  

Founded in 1896 in Basel, Switzerland, as one of the first industrial manufacturers of branded medicines, Roche has grown into the world’s largest biotechnology company and the global leader in in-vitro diagnostics. The company pursues scientific excellence to discover and develop medicines and diagnostics for improving and saving the lives of people around the world. We are a pioneer in personalised healthcare and want to further transform how healthcare is delivered to have an even greater impact. To provide the best care for each person we partner with many stakeholders and combine our strengths in Diagnostics and Pharma with data insights from the clinical practice.

In recognising our endeavor to pursue a long-term perspective in all we do, Roche has been named one of the most sustainable companies in the pharmaceuticals industry by the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices for the thirteenth consecutive year. This distinction also reflects our efforts to improve access to healthcare together with local partners in every country we work.

Genentech, in the United States, is a wholly owned member of the Roche Group. Roche is the majority shareholder in Chugai Pharmaceutical, Japan.

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