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NHIF spends Sh65m on drug abuse treatment

The National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) spent Sh65.3 million in the last financial year for rehabilitation of 685 drug and substance abuse patients.

This, down from Sh115 million the State insurer paid for treatment of 1,634 patients the previous financial year.

The NHIF drug rehabilitation package caters for treatment of those admitted for chronic drug use, including alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, heroin, mandrax and cocaine. According to 2017 National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse’s Rapid Situation Assessment survey on drugs and substance abuse, alcohol abuse contributes the highest burden of substance use disorders locally.

Patients requiring rehabilitation are referred to the treatment centres by other hospitals, psychiatrists, churches, the police department and the Judiciary.  

NHIF Benefits and Contracting Manager Gilbert Osoro said the package, in operation for the last five years, has seen low utilisation due to small number of accredited facilities for drug rehabilitation.

“There is need to increase the number of rehabilitation centres countrywide to cater for the increased number of patients suffering from drugs and substance abuse,” said Mr Osoro.

The NHIF scheme caters for rehabilitation treatment through a package-based mode of payment, which was enacted in 2011 following ratification and approval by the board.

A Sh30,000 rate was stipulated per member seeking rehabilitation services at accredited healthcare facilities per year. There are five rehabilitation centers in Nairobi and Kiambu counties. They are Chiromo Lane Medical Centre, Retreat and Raphaelites Red Hill place in Limuru, Mariakani nursing and rehabilitation centers and Brightside Drug Abuse and treatment Centre.

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