Pilot study assessing the direct medical cost of treating patients with cancer in Kenya; findings and implications for the future.

Currently the majority of cancer deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, where there are appreciable funding concerns. In Kenya, most patients currently pay out of pocket for treatment, and those who are insured are generally not covered for the full costs of treatment. This places a considerable burden on households if family members develop cancer. However, the actual cost of cancer treatment in Kenya is unknown. Such an analysis is essential to better allocate resources as Kenya strives towards universal healthcare.To evaluate the economic burden of treating cancer patients.Descriptive cross-sectional cost of illness study in the leading teaching and referral hospital in Kenya, with data collected from the hospital files of sampled adult patients for treatment during 2016.In total, 412 patient files were reviewed, of which 63.4% (n?=?261) were female and 36.6% (n?=?151) male. The cost of cancer care is highly dependent on the modality. Most reviewed patients had surgery, chemotherapy and palliative care. The cost of cancer therapy varied with the type of cancer. Patients on chemotherapy alone cost an average of KES 138,207 (USD 1364.3); while those treated with surgery cost an average of KES 128,207 (1265.6), and those on radiotherapy KES 119,036 (1175.1). Some patients had a combination of all three, costing, on average, KES 333,462 (3291.8) per patient during the year.The cost of cancer treatment in Kenya depends on the type of cancer, the modality, cost of medicines and the type of inpatient admission. The greatest contributors are currently the cost of medicines and inpatient admissions. This pilot study can inform future initiatives among the government as well as private and public insurance companies to increase available resources, and better allocate available resources, to more effectively treat patients with cancer in Kenya. The authors will be monitoring developments and conducting further research.

A global country-level comparison of the financial burden of surgery.

Approximately 30 per cent of the global burden of disease is surgical, and nearly one‐quarter of individuals who undergo surgery each year face financial hardship because of its cost. The Lancet Commission on Global Surgery has proposed the elimination of impoverishment due to surgery by 2030, but no country‐level estimates exist of the financial burden of surgical access.

Using publicly available data, the incidence and risk of financial hardship owing to surgery was estimated for each country. Four measures of financial catastrophe were examined: catastrophic expenditure, and impoverishment at the national poverty line, at 2 international dollars (I$) per day and at I$1·25 per day. Stochastic models of income and surgical costs were built for each country. Results were validated against available primary data.

Direct medical costs of surgery put 43·9 (95 per cent posterior credible interval 2·2 to 87·1) per cent of the examined population at risk of catastrophic expenditure, and 57·0 (21·8 to 85·1) per cent at risk of being pushed below I$2 per day. The risk of financial hardship from surgery was highest in sub‐Saharan Africa. Correlations were found between the risk of financial catastrophe and external financing of healthcare (positive correlation), national measures of well‐being (negative correlation) and the percentage of a country’s gross domestic product spent on healthcare (negative correlation). The model performed well against primary data on the costs of surgery.

Country‐specific estimates of financial catastrophe owing to surgical care are presented. The economic benefits projected to occur with the scale‐up of surgery are placed at risk if the financial burden of accessing surgery is not addressed in national policies.