Collectively Healthy

The consultation was coming to an end, and as ethical practice demands, I asked the patient if she had any allergies, just to counter-check, though her record indicated that she had no allergies. “Yes, I do. I am allergic to generics” she replied. In health, not a single day goes by without a surprise, and this one was mine for that day. And I was even more surprised as she proceeded to explain that she is infact allergic to all generics, and therefore only takes original/brand medicines. Suffice it to say that the consultation ran much longer after that as I attempted to convince her otherwise.

This fundamental belief in this case is not different from that of many patients who request (or demand) original/brand medicines and not (never) generics. Most believe that generics are universally either substandard or counterfeit or both. And yet this is not the case. Counterfeit…

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Health · Uncategorized

The nightmare of “Runner’s Knee”

I have been quite active since September 2011 following my many travels. I realised that as Nairobians we are literally couch & car "potatoes". We drive everywhere or hop onto a matatu/bus to take as short distances. My many travels inspired the post 'Have you seen FAT people walking?' and ever since I walk almost everywhere.… Continue reading The nightmare of “Runner’s Knee”


Entertainers dying young

I wrote this post after the death of Heavy D in November 2011 to an apparant "heart" condition. This got me thinking, why are these entertainers dying young? Here are some facts: Heavy D was a budding actor having rose to the limelight through music. He died at the age of 44.The cause of the… Continue reading Entertainers dying young


Capitation or not ?

Collectively Healthy

The civil servants scheme managed by NHIF is the latest saga to hit the health scene in Kenya. Many issues have been highlighted (spectacularly)  by the media, from its introduction to its (mis)management. The focus however has been on the large sum of money and how it was disbursed to the health care providers. I read a comment from a reader who raised a concern regarding the upfront payment of health care providers, and he intimated that this should not be the case.

However, I don’t think there is anything wrong with the method that was used to pay the health care providers. For those who may not be familiar, capitation, (not capitalization as was stated in one news report), is the method that was used for the scheme. Under capitation,a health care provider is paid a fixed amount of money per person registered with them, to provide services for a particular…

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Reverting to allowances: regression or solution?

Collectively Healthy

The NHIF saga continues to unfold, but what concerns me more than the less-than-dignified behaviour of those in power, is the response of the public, many of whom are in the civil service and hence are members of the scheme. The number of people asking for the scheme to be abolished and the medical allowances reinstated is growing. Don’t get me wrong, I want the allegations to be duly investigated. But I don’t think reverting to the allowances is the solution. Hear me out…

Several of the comments indicate that people would prefer to have their money and pay for health care services as and when they need it. One went as far as to state that he never falls ill and thus the insurance is a waste of money. Bold. Most of us have faith, and we do pray to remain healthy, but anyone who has had to pay…

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All about Albinism

Collectively Healthy

What is albinism?

Albinism is a condition which affects the pigment found in skin, hair and eyes. This pigment is called melanin. This pigment either reduces in amount or is absent. This results in light-colored skin, hair and/or eyes.

There are two broad types of albinism:

  • The type that affects the skin, hair and eyes.
  • The type that only affects the eyes

How does a person become an albino?

Albinism is an inherited condition which means that you get the condition from the genes of parents. Both parents have to have the defective gene that causes the problem in making skin pigment.

Can one die due to albinism?

Albinism does not cause death, and albinos have a normal life span. The lack of the pigment melanin results in poor vision and increased risk of skin cancer, but does not generally affect other systems or organs. Albinos therefore live an otherwise…

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A long way to universal coverage

Collectively Healthy

I was reading an entry by a friend on NHIF and the difficult path to universal coverage ( And the issues raised by both him and Mr. Kisero are critical. The National Social Health Insurance bill was well-intended but its sustainability particularly financially was questionable.

First and foremost, the raising of funds. Currently the NHIF is mandatory for the formal sector but under the proposed NSHIF, it would be mandatory for all eventually, including the informal sector and self-employed. How will the money be collected from that sector? In addition, the Government will pay for the poor. Does the Government have enough money to do so? According to the National Health Accounts, the total expenditure of health as a % of the GDP in 2009 was 4.8%. This is still far below what had been agreed upon by African states as part of the Abuja Declaration of 2001…

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Get to know your “status” of Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a type of fat. Healthy levels of cholesterol are an important part of a healthy body. Every part of your body uses cholesterol — it is the main component that covers all the cells in the body and is an important raw material for making hormones like insulin. It also helps in converting… Continue reading Get to know your “status” of Cholesterol


The burden of bad body odour

Dear Ask a Doc, There is a bad smell that surrounds me, and I have had this problem for a long time now. The smell persists even when I take a bath and change my clothes frequently. I am worried that people think I do not shower. This is very embarrassing, especially at work. I… Continue reading The burden of bad body odour


The reasons behind nose-pinching feet

Dear Doctor, I have a problem that started way back in 2007; my feet started producing a bad smell whenever I wore closed or open shoes. This was quite embarrassing to me, especially since my feet would smell even though my shoes were still on. I never had this problem during my high school years.… Continue reading The reasons behind nose-pinching feet