Most Kenyan patients who travel abroad go for cancer treatment

According to The Star, Kesses MP Swarup Mishra, the National Assembly health committee vice chair, has said that more than 10,000 Kenyans travel abroad annually in search of medical treatment, spending at least Sh10 billion (US$100m). No source for this number has been given.

The article says that cancer patients make up more than 50% of Kenyans seeking medical treatment overseas. Renal diseases take 16.8%, followed by cardiovascular diseases with 7.8% while skeletal disorders account for 3.4%.

The reason for the outbound medical travel from Kenya is, it claims, due to a lack of enough specialists and specialised medical equipment, long waiting periods especially for cancer treatment and kidney transplants and the high cost of treatment.

Many patients hope they can get a referral to India, as NHIF (Kenyan National Hospital Insurance Fund) covers costs outside the country.

Mishra has recently come up with a bill to control referral of patients outside the country.

For further analysis of the flow of medical travellers from Kenya, visit the IMTJ Country Profile.