WHO Places Kenya on TB Alert List 

  • Medical practitioners in protective gear at the Coronavirus Isolation facility in Mbagathi District Hospital on Friday, March 6, 2020.
    Medical practitioners in protective gear at the Coronavirus Isolation facility in Mbagathi District Hospital on Friday, March 6, 2020.
    Simon Kiragu
    KENYANS.CO.KE
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) placed Kenya among the 30 high burden countries in regards to exposure to Tuberculosis (TB).

    In the latest report titled Global Tuberculosis Report 2020, the global health governing body detailed a worrying trend over the last year, with TB cases surging during the pandemic.

    The 30 high TB burden countries account for almost 90% of individuals who fall sick with TB each year.

    The survey shows that there are 512 new cases per 100,000 populations which is nearly double the WHO estimate in 2015 of 266 new cases per 100,000 populations.

    "TB remains the world’s most deadly infectious disease. It claims more than a million lives each year and affects millions more, with enormous impacts on families and communities. The report highlights the fact that TB incidence and deaths are falling, but not fast enough to reach global TB targets," reads and excerpt from the report.

    Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe addresses the media at Mbagathi District Hospital on Friday, March 6, 2020
    Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe addresses the media at Mbagathi District Hospital on Friday, March 6, 2020
    Simon Kiragu
    Kenyans.co.ke

    Some of the common symptoms associated with extra pulmonary TB may include; fever, weight loss, general body weakness, night sweats.

    The impact of the pandemic on TB services has been severe. The global number of TB deaths could increase by around 0.2 - 0.4 million in 2020 alone.

    TB is one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide and the leading cause of death from a single infectious agent (ranking above HIV/AIDS). 

    It is caused by the bacillus Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which is spread when people who are sick with TB expel bacteria into the air; for example, by coughing. 

    The disease typically affects the lungs (pulmonary TB) but can also affect other sites (extrapulmonary TB). About a quarter of the world’s population is infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

    TB can affect anyone anywhere, but most people who develop the disease are adults, there are more cases among men than women.

    TB is curable and preventable. About 85% of people who develop TB disease can be successfully treated with a 6-month drug regimen; treatment has the additional benefit of curtailing onward transmission of infection.

    WHO has published a global TB report every year since 1997. The purpose of the report is to provide a comprehensive and up-to-date assessment of the status of the TB epidemic, and of progress in the response to the epidemic at global, regional and country levels.

    In Kenya, the Ministry of Health launched two key policy documents to guide the efforts in ending TB in the country.

    The Kenya Injectable Free Regimens and the Latent TB Infection (LTBI) Treatment policies. 

    Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) for Health, Dr. Rashid Aman, speaking during the launch on June 30, highlighted that the two policies are key to the ministry’s strategic goal of ridding the country of TB by 2030 as envisaged in vision 2030.

    Dr. Aman added that 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 care they need.

    Health CAS Rashid Aman addressing the media at a press briefing. May 13, 2020.
    Health CAS Rashid Aman addressing the media at a press briefing. May 13, 2020.
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