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NHIF enhances patient access to prostate cancer drugs

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The National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) has unveiled a joint partnership to enhance access to a crucial drug for local prostate cancer patients.

The partnership will see Janssen one of the pharmaceutical companies of Johnson &Johnson, make one of its innovative medicines used for the treatment of advanced prostate cancer available at a subsidized rate for NHIF members

The Janssen Kenya Prostate cancer program in conjunction with Axios International, a specialized healthcare access company, will provide significant cost savings to NHIF members, and seeks to support efforts by NHIF to adopt new low-cost service delivery models by embracing public-private partnerships (PPPs).

According to Janssen Kenya Country Manager Mr. Marseille Onyango, the prescription drug, Zytiga (Abiraterone will be available to NHIF members from selected public and private medical facilities.

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As part of the commitment, Onyango, said the firm will make the treatment available at a discounted price for NHIF members as part of a corporate commitment to strengthen cancer care in sub-Sahara Africa.

“At Janssen Kenya, we are working hard to enhance access to our innovative medicines while leveraging partnerships and collaborations with key stakeholders such as NHIFto make a significant impact in the lives of cancer patients,” Onyango said.

With the realization that Prostate cancer remains leading cancer in men in Kenya, NHIF two years ago introduced the cancer treatment reimbursement scheme for all its’ National Scheme members. T

The Scheme reimburses up-to a maximum of Ksh600,000 a year for all cancers. Last year, NHIF, spent Ksh 1.36 billion in the financial year 2017/ 2018 as payment towards oncology (cancer) treatments representing an 11% increase from the previous year.

Speaking at the launch of the joint partnership, Janssen Pharmaceuticals Director of global business Institutions and Patient insight, Global Market Access, Mr. CraigWinters, said the company is partnering with NHIF to enhance treatment of metastatic castrate-resistant prostate cancer with Zytiga (Abiraterone) to facilitate a positive impact on the lives of patients with advanced prostate cancer.

The partnership, he said is geared at enhancing access for patients with advanced prostate cancer by getting more patients diagnosed and treated earlier while providing access to treatment with Zytiga (Abiraterone) through a Patient AssistanceProgram for prostate cancer patients who are also NHIF members.

The partnership with NHIF, Winter said will provide much needed financial relief as financing for cancer treatment remains a challenge for many developing countries including Kenya. In many developing countries, Cancer drugs remain out of reach for a majority of patients.

From a pharmaceutical standpoint, Winter, acknowledged that there is a high unmet need for treatment of metastatic castrate-resistant prostate cancer. Novel hormonal therapy and chemotherapy are sequentially indicated for treatment of metastatic castrate resistant disease. One such novel antiandrogen is Zytiga (Abiraterone)that was developed by Janssen.

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Zytiga has proven efficacy and outcomes with extensive real-world experience since its launch in 2011.

Clinical data has shown significant extension of patient survival and maintenance of health-related quality of life.

NHIF Claims and Benefits Manager Judy Otele said the insurance fund is actively working to address barriers to cancer care access. With the Janssen Kenya Prostate cancer project, NHIF, she disclosed has successfully managed to negotiate the price reduction of Zytiga from Kshs 200,000 to about Kshs 100,000.

“A lot, however, remains to be done to reduce the cost of cancer management and at NHIF we are asking healthcare providers to consider reviewing downwards the cost of radiotherapy interventions,” Otele said, adding that, “There’s need to lobby all stakeholders including the government, investors, suppliers among others to make cancer care accessible and affordable through public-private partnerships.”

Public accounts committee chairman Opiyo Wandayi who attended the partnership launch event described cancer as a crisis that will evolve to a calamity, if not addressed. The legislator pledged to provide support to ensure that initiatives such as the Janssen Kenya Prostate cancer project are devolved to grass root levels.

The Ministry of Health Head of Curative & Rehabilitative Services Dr. Izaq Odongo who represented Cabinet Secretary Cecily Kariuki, on his part confirmed that the government is focusing its efforts on strengthening health systems forUniversal Health Coverage (UHC) as part of the National Cancer control strategy.

Cancer is one of the major non-communicable diseases in Kenya and ranks third as a cause of death after infectious diseases and cardiovascular diseases. It is estimated that there are 40,000 new cases annually and approximately 28,000 cancer-related deaths every year. More than 70% of cancer cases are diagnosed at late stage when treatment outcomes are poor and palliative care is usually the only management amenable.

Currently, the NHIF care package entails up to 10 chemotherapy sessions, oral and injectable anti-cancers drugs, inpatient and outpatient oncology services, 20 sessions for radiotherapy, and up to two sessions for Brachytherapy for advanced cancer, per year. Among the health facilities that offer the package include some level five and six hospitals, and selected private hospitals in urban centres.

NHIF covers six sessions for the first line treatment for up to Ksh25,000 per session, four sessions for the second and third line treatment for up to Ksh150,000 per session and 20 sessions of radiotherapy at Ksh3,600 per session.

Biopsy is covered under the surgical package. Radiology is also done during the diagnosis stage, and this includes MRIs, ultrasounds, or CT scan and PET scan, also covered by NHIF.



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Sordid tale of the bank ‘that would bribe God’

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Bank of Credit and Commerce International. August 1991. [File, Standard]

“This bank would bribe God.” These words of a former employee of the disgraced Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) sum up one of the most rotten global financial institutions.
BCCI pitched itself as a top bank for the Third World, but its spectacular collapse would reveal a web of transnational corruption and a playground for dictators, drug lords and terrorists.
It was one of the largest banks cutting across 69 countries and its aftermath would cause despair to innocent depositors, including Kenyans.
BCCI, which had $20 billion (Sh2.1 trillion in today’s exchange rate) assets globally, was revealed to have lost more than its entire capital.
The bank was founded in 1972 by the crafty Pakistani banker Agha Hasan Abedi.
He was loved in his homeland for his charitable acts but would go on to break every rule known to God and man.
In 1991, the Bank of England (BoE) froze its assets, citing large-scale fraud running for several years. This would see the bank cease operations in multiple countries. The Luxembourg-based BCCI was 77 per cent owned by the Gulf Emirate of Abu Dhabi.  
BoE investigations had unearthed laundering of drugs money, terrorism financing and the bank boasted of having high-profile customers such as Panama’s former strongman Manual Noriega as customers.
The Standard, quoting “highly placed” sources reported that Abu Dhabi ruler Sheikh Zayed Sultan would act as guarantor to protect the savings of Kenyan depositors.
The bank had five branches countrywide and panic had gripped depositors on the state of their money.
Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) would then move to appoint a manager to oversee the operations of the BCCI operations in Kenya.
It sent statements assuring depositors that their money was safe.
The Standard reported that the Sheikh would be approaching the Kenyan and other regional subsidiaries of the bank to urge them to maintain operations and assure them of his personal support.
It was said that contact between CBK and Abu Dhabi was “likely.”
This came as the British Ambassador to the UAE Graham Burton implored the gulf state to help compensate Britons, and the Indian government also took similar steps.
The collapse of BCCI was, however, not expect to badly hit the Kenyan banking system. This was during the sleazy 1990s when Kenya’s banking system was badly tested. It was the era of high graft and “political banks,” where the institutions fraudulently lent to firms belonging or connected to politicians, who were sometimes also shareholders.
And even though the impact was expected to be minimal, it was projected that a significant number of depositors would transfer funds from Asian and Arab banks to other local institutions.
“Confidence in Arab banking has taken a serious knock,” the “highly placed” source told The Standard.
BCCI didn’t go down without a fight. It accused the British government of a conspiracy to bring down the Pakistani-run bank.  The Sheikh was said to be furious and would later engage in a protracted legal battle with the British.
“It looks to us like a Western plot to eliminate a successful Muslim-run Third World Bank. We know that it often acted unethically. But that is no excuse for putting it out of business, especially as the Sultan of Abu Dhabi had agreed to a restructuring plan,” said a spokesperson for British Asians.
A CBK statement signed by then-Deputy Governor Wanjohi Murithi said it was keenly monitoring affairs of the mother bank and would go to lengths to protect Kenyan depositors.
“In this respect, the CBK has sought and obtained the assurance of the branch’s management that the interests of depositors are not put at risk by the difficulties facing the parent company and that the bank will meet any withdrawal instructions by depositors in the normal course of business,” said Mr Murithi.
CBK added that it had maintained surveillance of the local branch and was satisfied with its solvency and liquidity.
This was meant to stop Kenyans from making panic withdrawals.
For instance, armed policemen would be deployed at the bank’s Nairobi branch on Koinange Street after the bank had announced it would shut its Kenyan operations.
In Britain, thousands of businesses owned by British Asians were on the verge of financial ruin following the closure of BCCI.
Their firms held almost half of the 120,000 bank accounts registered with BCCI in Britain. 
The African Development Bank was also not spared from this mess, with the bulk of its funds deposited and BCCI and stood to lose every coin.
Criminal culture
In Britain, local authorities from Scotland to the Channel Islands are said to have lost over £100 million (Sh15.2 billion in today’s exchange rate).
The biggest puzzle remained how BCCI was allowed by BoE and other monetary regulation authorities globally to reach such levels of fraudulence.
This was despite the bank being under tight watch owing to the conviction of some of its executives on narcotics laundering charges in the US.
Coast politician, the late Shariff Nassir, would claim that five primary schools in Mombasa lost nearly Sh1 million and appealed to then Education Minister George Saitoti to help recover the savings. Then BoE Governor Robin Leigh-Pemberton condemned it as so deeply immersed in fraud that rescue or recovery – at least in Britain – was out of the question.
“The culture of the bank is criminal,” he said. The bank was revealed to have targeted the Third World and had created several “institutional devices” to promote its operations in developing countries.
These included the Third World Foundation for Social and Economic Studies, a British-registered charity.
“It allowed it to cultivate high-level contacts among international statesmen,” reported The Observer, a British newspaper.
BCCI also arranged an annual Third World lecture and a Third World prize endowment fund of about $10 million (Sh1 billion in today’s exchange rate).
Winners of the annual prize had included Nelson Mandela (1985), sir Bob Geldof (1986) and Archbishop Desmond Tutu (1989).
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Monitor water pumps remotely via your phone

Tracking and monitoring motor vehicles is not new to Kenyans. Competition to install affordable tracking devices is fierce but essential for fleet managers who receive reports online and track vehicles from the comfort of their desk.

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Agricultural Development Corporation Chief Accountant Gerald Karuga on the Spot Over Fraud –

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Gerald Karuga, the acting chief accountant at the Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC), is on the spot over fraud in land dealings.

ADC was established in 1965 through an Act of Parliament Cap 346 to facilitate the land transfer programme from European settlers to locals after Kenya gained independence.

Karuga is under fire for allegedly aiding a former powerful permanent secretary in the KANU era Benjamin Kipkulei to deprive ADC beneficiaries of their land in Naivasha.

Kahawa Tungu understands that the aggrieved parties continue to protest the injustice and are now asking the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (EACC) and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to probe Karuga.

A source who spoke to Weekly Citizen publication revealed that Managing Director Mohammed Dulle is also involved in the mess at ADC.

Read: Ministry of Agriculture Apologizes After Sending Out Tweets Portraying the President in bad light

Dulle is accused of sidelining a section of staffers in the parastatal.

The sources at ADC intimated that Karuga has been placed strategically at ADC to safeguard interests of many people who acquired the corporations’ land as “donations” from former President Daniel Arap Moi.

Despite working at ADC for many years Karuga has never been transferred, a trend that has raised eyebrows.

“Karuga has worked here for more than 30 years and unlike other senior officers in other parastatals who are transferred after promotion or moved to different ministries, for him, he has stuck here for all these years and we highly suspect that he is aiding people who were dished out with big chunks of land belonging to the corporation in different parts of the country,” said the source.

In the case of Karuga safeguarding Kipkulei’s interests, workers at the parastatals and the victims who claim to have lost their land in Naivasha revealed that during the Moi regime some senior officials used dubious means to register people as beneficiaries of land without their knowledge and later on colluded with rogue land officials at the Ministry of Lands to acquire title deeds in their names instead of those of the benefactors.

Read Also: Galana Kulalu Irrigation Scheme To Undergo Viability Test Before Being Privatised

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“We have information that Karuga has benefitted much from Kipkulei through helping him and this can be proved by the fact that since the matter of the Naivasha land began, he has been seen changing and buying high-end vehicles that many people of his rank in government can’t afford to buy or maintain,” the source added.

“He is even building a big apartment for rent in Ruiru town.”

The wealthy officer is valued at over Sh1.5 billion in prime properties and real estate.

Last month, more than 100 squatters caused scenes in Naivasha after raiding a private firm owned by Kipkulei.

The squatters, who claimed to have lived on the land for more than 40 years, were protesting take over of the land by a private developer who had allegedly bought the land from the former PS.

They pulled down a three-kilometre fence that the private developed had erected.

The squatters claimed that the former PS had not informed them that he had sold the land and that the developer was spraying harmful chemicals on the grass affecting their livestock and homes built on a section of the land.

Read Also: DP Ruto Wants NCPB And Other Agricultural Bodies Merged For Efficiency

Naivasha Deputy County Commissioner Kisilu Mutua later issued a statement warning the squatters against encroaching on Kipkuleir’s land.

“They are illegally invading private land. We shall not allow the rule of the jungle to take root,” warned Mutua.

Meanwhile, a parliamentary committee recently demanded to know identities of 10 faceless people who grabbed 30,350 acres of land belonging to the parastatal, exposing the rot at the corporation.

ADC Chairman Nick Salat, who doubles up as the KANU party Secretary-General, denied knowledge of the individuals and has asked DCI to probe the matter.

Email your news TIPS to [email protected] or WhatsApp +254708677607. You can also find us on Telegram through www.t.me/kahawatungu

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William Ruto eyes Raila Odinga Nyanza backyard

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Deputy President William Ruto will next month take his ‘hustler nation’ campaigns to his main rival, ODM leader Raila Odinga’s Nyanza backyard, in an escalation of the 2022 General Election competition.

Acrimonious fall-out

Development agenda

Won’t bear fruit

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