KUTRRH launches a Comprehensive Breast Care Centre to Improve Access
- KUTRRH has launched a Comprehensive Breast Care Centre, to serve as a Centre of
excellence for screening, diagnostics and treatment of breast care conditions, including
- The partnership between Roche, NHIF and The Ministry of Health enables all breast cancer
patients in Kenya who are insured by the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) to receive
Herceptin SC, a breast cancer treatment, without co-payment.
Kenyatta University Teaching, Referral & Research Hospital (KUTRRH) launched a Comprehensive Breast Care Centre. The Centre provides a one-stop shop for screening, diagnostics and treatment for breast care conditions, including breast cancer.
The Centre services include breast health education, clinical breast examination, mammograms, breast ultrasound, breast MRI, biopsy, histopathology, immunohistochemistry (IHC), staging CT scans/PET scans, specialist consultations, among others. With the Centre currently serving an average of 20 patients daily, the number is anticipated to grow to about 50 patients daily in the coming weeks.
Today also marks the beginning of the Herceptin SC national access program, that provides this breast cancer treatment to NHIF members without co-payment at public hospitals. Roche, the Government of Kenya and the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) this year, to make breast cancer treatment more accessible and affordable to patients in Kenya.
From today, breast cancer patients can receive this treatment at public hospitals without out-of- pocket payments. This partnership between Roche, the Ministry of Health and NHIF is part of a collaborative effort to ease the financial burden of Kenyan women with breast cancer and ensure they have access to standard of care treatment.
Speaking at the event at KUTRRH to commemorate the launch of the Comprehensive Breast Care Centre and the implementation of the joint MoU, Health Principal Secretary Ms. Susan Mochache noted that the Ministry of Health (MoH)is continuing its endeavours to raise awareness on breast cancer and has made tremendous efforts in the prevention and control of cancer nationally.
“We seek to comprehensively address cancer control through the systematic implementation of evidence-based interventions for prevention, screening, timely diagnosis, treatment, survivorship, palliative care, financing, monitoring, and research,” she noted.
In addition, Ms. Mochache highlighted that a lot has been achieved through effective collaborations to make cancer management services more widely available, by expanding infrastructure and providing training opportunities in the field of oncology and allied professions. Eleven regional cancer Centres (Nakuru, Meru, Nyeri, Embu, Garissa, Bomet, Machakos, Coast, Kakamega, Kisumu, Makueni) are currently operational, providing chemotherapy and surgical services across the country.
In the remarks read on her behalf, KUTTRH Board Chairperson, Prof. Olive Mugenda noted that the Board will continue guiding the KUTRRH Management so that the hospital can invest in state-of-the- art equipment and a dedicated team of specialists living up to the Centre’s ideals of providing holistic patient-centered breast care services.KUTRRH CEO, Mr. Ahmed Dagane noted that the newly launched Comprehensive Breast Care Centre
will contribute immensely to the fight against cancer through early regular screening, diagnosis, and treatment to improve outcomes and survivorship. This will be in addition to providing much needed evidence-based care through research.
Frank Loeffler, General Manager Roche East Africa, said: “We are proud of our partnership with the Ministry of Health and NHIF, and our work to address the multiple barriers to care and treatment that cancer patients face in Kenya, including financial barriers. This partnership reinforces our commitment to ensuring everyone in Kenya, and everyone in Africa, can access the treatment they need, no matter where they live and regardless of their financial status. Roche stands ready to work together with partners to holistically strengthen health ecosystems and build resilience for the future.”
Through this partnership, Roche will continue the company’s longstanding work to strengthen the diagnostic ecosystem for breast cancer screening and early diagnosis of patients, as well as improve the referral pathways to the treatment centres. In addition to supplying Herceptin SC to public hospitals at a negotiated price, Roche will also support capacity building and training of NHIF and Ministry of Health employees on health data management, health economics, as well as pricing and reimbursement approaches.
In attendance at the event was the Ambassador of Switzerland, H. E. Amb. Valentin Zellweger, who said: “This MoU is a milestone towards Universal Healthcare Coverage for women with breast cancer. It is also an example how the public and the private sector can work together to improve access to medical products and social protection mechanisms.”
Breast Cancer is the most diagnosed cancer and the cause of the most cancer-related deaths in women globally. 1 In Kenya, Cancer is the third leading cause of death, with 6,000 breast cancer diagnoses and 2,500 deaths annually. 2 Early detection of breast cancer, combined with effective and early treatment options, are critical to reducing the mortality rate of breast cancer patients.This partnership is part of a concerted effort to eliminate the barriers to cancer care in Kenya, achievable through integration with national universal health care initiatives.
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.