At 22 years of age, one has their whole life ahead of them. At this point, one is likely to have cleared campus or just about to and consequently embarking on job hunting. Top priorities at this age is just having fun and eating life with a big spoon before responsibilities like paying taxes and rent check in. This was the life of Beth Adhiambo until she was diagnosed with Primary Pulmonary Hodgkins disease in May last year.

Primary Pulmonary Hodgkins disease also known as lymphoma is a type of cancer of the blood. It affects the white blood cells which play an important role in the body’s immune system. Due to the fact that it is present in the blood stream, it can spread easily to different parts of the body. In Beth’s Adhiambo’s case it spread to the lungs and caused a tumor.

Sadly, we live in a country where the public healthcare system is so deficient that a majority are just a major illness away from poverty. Being diagnosed with cancer then becomes akin to a death sentence due to the high cost of treatment which many cannot be able to afford. For the majority who cannot be able to afford treatment in private hospitals, they usually find themselves in Kenyatta National Hospital. For the longest time, the waiting time for cancer treatment at Kenyatta National Hospital has been 3 months and the machines could only serve 23 patients in a day. Frequent breakdowns of the overstretched machines has been inevitable with patients having to wait longer to start or continue with their chemotherapy sessions. Thing is, in order to beat cancer, one needs early diagnosis and treatment which goes to show how dire the situation in public hospitals is.

Beth was lucky in that she had a health insurance cover courtesy of her mother who is a teacher in Marakwet. Teachers who are under Teachers Service Commission (TSC) have an insurance scheme under Minet Kenya which covers them plus their dependents. It is this cover which came to Beth’s rescue at her hour of need and was able to cater for her treatment at a time when her mother’s finances were stretched thin. The cover not only catered for her treatment but also a checkup in India to confirm that she had truly been cured of cancer.

There are many stories such as this out there where the Minet Kenya health cover has come through for teachers and their dependents in a big way. This has enabled them to continue carrying out their duties without having to worry about calling for harambees every time a serious illness comes their way. If you are a teacher or know of one who hasn’t joined the scheme tell them to do so asap.