The government has launched two policy documents on Tuberculosis to guide efforts in ending TB in the country.
One of the policy documents, speaks to the rollout of a regimen for treatment of MDR- TB, that is devoid of injections, in line with the WHO’s call to eliminate injectables from the MDR-TB treatment regimen to improve treatment outcomes.
The second policy document addresses preventive treatment of latent TB infection, offered to individuals at risk of developing active TB.
Preventive treatment has proven to be an effective intervention to curtail development of active TB disease.
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Speaking during a press briefing on daily COVID-19 updates, Chief Administrative Secretary in the Ministry of Health Dr. Rashid Aman noted the two policy documents on TB are key to the Ministry’s strategic goal of ridding the country of TB, by 2030 as envisaged in vision 2030, and the SDGs.
The CAS noted that TB remains a global and national public health concern, Globally, 104 million people are infected with TB of which nearly 1.5 million die each year.
“In Kenya, TB is the fifth leading cause of death. In 2019, we reported and treated 86,504 cases of TB, of which approximately 10% are children,” said Dr Aman.
Adding that, “drug-resistant TB cases have been on the rise, with 688 such cases in the country as of 2019. Despite TB diagnosis and treatment being offered free of charge in public and FBO facilities, not all that are infected with TB are reached, and therefore, do not receive the required care.”
While pledging support to Kenya in war against TB, WHO Country Representative Dr. Rudi Eggers noted that it is important that other health services are maintained even as we try to combat COVID-19.
“Treatment of Tuberculosis, immunisation and diagnosis should remain on cause,” said Dr. Rudi.
Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) donated 43,000 latent TB treatments with 4000 already having been delivered in the country and distributed to hospitals countrywide.
Country Director in Kenya for the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) Dr Macharia, commended the programme that has worked and come up with the policies and committed to lowering cost of treatment.
He said, “We have worked together for the last 6 years , I commend the programme that has worked to bring us these two policies today.”
“Currently, a test goes for Ksh 4,500 but we are working to make it accessible and affordable at Ksh 1,500,” Dr Macharia committed.