NHIF headquatres Photo/standardmedia

The National Hospital Insurance Funds (NHIF) spent Sh65 million to rehabilitate 685 patients suffering from drug and substance abuse in the financial year 2017/18.

In the previous financial year 2016/17, the insurer paid Sh115 million for 1,634 drug addicts.

The NHIF drug rehabilitation package caters for treatment of admitted beneficiaries who suffer from the chronic use of drugs, including, alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, heroin, mandrax, and cocaine among others.

According to the 2017 NACADA Rapid Situation Assessment survey on drugs and substance abuse, alcohol abuse contributes the highest burden of substance use disorders (SUDs) in the country with respondents aged 15-65 years accounting to 10.4 percent.

Nairobi region led in the use of alcohol resulting to addiction at 18.4 percent followed by Western at 13.1 precent, Rift Valley 10.7 percent, Easter 10.6 percent, Nyanza 9.6 percent, Coast 8.7 percent, Central 8.3 percent and NorthEastern at 1.4 percent.

The rehabilitation cover provided with NHIF includes a three stage treatment program that includes detoxification, rehabilitation and after care arrangements.

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The package caters for treatment of admitted beneficiaries who are conducted through a stay duration of 3 months on treatment.

Therapy involves monthly family sessions, group and individual counseling, residential drug free treatment, therapeutic community engagements and anonymous programmes for alcoholic and narcotic admission cases. The enumerated sequence covers a span of up to 90 days.

Patients receiving rehabilitation services are commonly referred to the treatment centre by other hospitals, psychiatric doctors, churches, police department, and the judiciary.

Although the rehabilitation package has been around for five years, Gilbert Osoro the NHIF benefits and Contracting Manager said that they have faced low utilization due to the small number of accredited facilities for drug rehabilitation in the country.

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“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 in the country,” said My Osoro.

Currently, there are five rehabilitation centers based in Nairobi and Kiambu counties. The listed facilities include Chiromo Lane Medical Centre in Nairobi, The Retreat and The Raphaelites Red Hill place in Limuru town of Kiambu County, Mariakani nursing and Rehabilitation centers, and Brightside Drug Abuse & treatment Center.

So far Mathari Mental Hospital is the only listed Government institution and also serves as the national referral facility. There are G.O.K hospitals at Tertiary level (KNH and MTRH-level 6), County referral Hospitals at level 5 and Sub county referral hospitals at level 4 which have psychiatric wards and outpatient consulting clinics and deployed specialists.

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These serve as referral centers to other facilities that lack the specialty as cases of drug and substance abuse disorders are filtered and forwarded for further management at the said institutions.

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