The cloud cancer has totally announced its presence amongst us. We have shed tears, emotionally tortured, prayed deeply, given encouragement to those affected. We have stood by them, cheered their victorious days and lifted them in their down days. We have contributed funds, services and advice left right and center, to friends, families, and foes. All this in the battle to help the fight against cancer. Still, the studies are being conducted, research is made and campaigns run to update ourselves in lives against cancer.
Who is cancer?
Cancer is defined by WebMD as a disease in which abnormal cells divide uncontrollably and destroy body tissue. WebMD goes further to explain cancer occurs in various types, about 100 confirmed existing types. The common known types of cancer are breast cancer, skin cancer, lung cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, and lymphoma. The identifying symptoms of cancer vary depending on the occurring types. The used methods of Cancer treatment include chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery.
A recent report stated that about 40,000 new cancer cases were reported last year. Most of the cancer cases can be treated and a patient gets fully healed. This, however, has become a challenge in the Kenyan medical field because most scenarios, the cases are discovered at the late stages 3 or 4. Challenge is, the costs of medical check-ups and visiting wellness clinics are really high. This shuns the Mwananchi from visiting the medical centers early. They opt instead to self-medicate their symptoms, with over the counter drugs. When the situation is persistent and worsening, that’s when they visit medical centers.
We subscribe to the norm that you only visit the hospital when you are sick, visiting the sick, or need medical tests done for applications of jobs or schools………… I know, I know. Some trips to the hospitals just to get checked we really assume it as a luxury. I remember when young, we used to be told, ” Mwili ya binadamu, haitakosa ugonjwa, so ukipimwa tu, Daktari atapata kitu”. (A doctor will always find a disease when running a test in a healthy human’s body). Of course, this is what drives a lot of Kenyans .
I once ‘window shopped’ several hospitals to see how much it would cost one to get a body checkup. Some of the cheapest costs came to around whooping Kshs. 15,000. This amount isn’t really easily available to anyone, on a normal day. Most Medical insurance covers do not offer wellness packages that should encourage Mwananchi to go for medical check-ups. This is until I heard of Minet that not only offers but also educates the beneficiary importance of taking up the wellness package.
Minet Wellness Package
To ensure the wellbeing of our clients, we take time to conduct wellness checks & educate our
members. The benefits under this scheme include, but are not limited to:
• Health education and lifestyle improvement programmes – doctors and other experts educate
and engage members on lifestyle choices and disease management
• Preventive care programmes carried out during wellness drives
• HIV/AIDS workplace programmes – the team engages the clients in voluntary counselling
It is from such visits to hospitals where you get to discover your current state of health, what it means, where you are heading healthwise and get proper advice on what you should do to achieve your best health results.
The Cancer Journey
Once a doctor suspects the patient has cancer, s/he is further advised to take a blood test known as Discover Liquid Biopsy. This test enables the doctor to tell the origin of a cancerous tumor, where it is found in the body and probable treatment to be taken to control cancer. This test alone costs about Kshs. 70, 000.
From the stage, type, and level of cancer, a probable treatment is adviced to the patient. Cancer medications vary cost from Kshs. 500000 all the way to Kshs. 10M for leukaemia cases. Dr. Ahmed Komen, a radiation oncologist at the Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi, told a local daily recently, “For 20 years, the drug cost about Sh500,000 a cycle and is given every three weeks yet patients need it for more than a year. The patent for the original drug expired, so generic versions that are just as effective have appeared and the cost has come down to below Sh100,000. NHIF covers the cost for some patients”.
With such hefty medical burdens, it’s clear not every single patient would make it, to raise such bills to cater for their medical costs. Some treatments are usually no locally available thus pushing the patients to be referred to receive medical attention broad. This, however, comes with a further burden of accommodation, visa processing fees, finances for upkeep abroad, hospital bills and even the medical bills. Not forgetting families left behind also need to be sustained financially so as to function normally. Patients are sometimes forced to raise funds for the expensive treatment locally and abroad using crowdfunding methods such as mobile money donations, community fundraisers, and online fundraising websites.
With such a burden, hope for longevity is lost in the patients. They sometimes lack the resources to cater for their medical needs. They sometimes decide to sacrifice, refrain from borrowing, or even depleting family savings. just not to buy the medicines, hoping that after their demise, their families will be left in better financial grounding. In 2017, about 27,000 deaths were caused by cancer making it among the country’s leading killer!
Everybody eventually dies! True that. But. Isn’t it always better if we get a chance to spend more moments with our loved ones? One more minute, one more day, one more week, one more year. Not when the loved one is suffering helplessly, but when S/he is sick but has medical care taking care of him/her. Well then, are you or your loved one a teacher, employee of the Teacher Service Commission?
Minet offers Chronic disease management that caters for Cancer, hypertension, asthma, diabetes, pepticulcer diseases, arthritis, cardiac failure, epilepsy, chronic renal disease, schizophrenia, bronchiectasis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, thyroid disease, systemic lupus erythematosus, hyperlipidemia among others. All you have to do is enroll in their Chronic Disease Management (CDM) programmes, fill in a CDM form available at Minet county offices countrywide. The CDM form is available on the website.
The Minet CDM team will ensure your drugs are delivered to you and that your progress is monitored regularly.
According to Ms. Mary Wanjiku, a member of the Minet Insurance’s Wellness Team, the underwriter caters for the insurance as well as psychosocial needs of their clients. “In addition to catering for treatment costs, we link our patients to the various support groups like Faraja Trust, which counsels and educates them on how to live healthier better quality lifestyles,” she said. In cases of abroad treatments, Minet Teacher’s Medical cover ensures not just the medical bills are paid but it facilitates for airfares, accommodation and travel assistance from their Guest Relations Officers.
This may not be a 100000-mile step but its worth a long way. Minet Teacher’s Medical cover will is in line with Ric Flair’s quote, “Without your health, you’ve got nothing going on. I thank God every day for good health.”. Minet Teacher’s Medical Cover will enable Kenyan teachers stay in class happy, free of worries and full of enthusiasm to educate our younglings, tomorrow’s generations.