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Free screening as Turkana marks World TB day

The fight against TB in Turkana will greatly be enhanced by embracing partnership, stakeholders’ involvement and improving diagnostic capacity for better patient outcomes Health CEC Jane Ajele has said.

            Ajele said that the department will also offer free TB screening to residents of California and Soweto within Lodwar Township to celebrate the day.

            Ajele also launched the first phase of free TB for all health care workers and called upon everyone in the society to actively participate in raising their voices against the ancient disease.

            Noting that the global target was to reduce TB deaths and totally cut off new infections by up to 100 per cent by 2035, Ajele added that the health department will intensify all aspects of case finding using multiplicity if approaches.

            “Our focus will be on high-risk population especially in crowded settlements, congregate settings like prisons and those with HIV due to their heightened vulnerability to the disease,” said Ajele.

            The County Health boss lauded the Turkana TB programme for ensuring full implementation of protocols that facilitate free access to TB diagnostics and treatment while at the same time maintaining patient cure rate of more than 84 per cent for three years in succession.

            Speaking on the same, Chris Eweillar the Ampathplus team leader in Turkana said that his organization had supported capacity enhancement of health care workers across the county in addition to supporting sample shipment to testing hubs for Laboratory and microscopy confirmations.

            “As part of our routine programme, Ampathplus has been on the forefront in supporting awareness campaigns, mass TB screening exercises and supply of TB testing reagents as it is contribution towards augmenting Governments efforts towards reducing the TB burden in Turkana,” he said.

            Dr. Job Okemwa added that the TB statistics puts Turkana among the top ten counties with the highest TB burden hence the need for more vigilance in case identification.

            According to Dr. Okemwa, some of the missed cases could be attributed to use of traditional healers as well as the erroneous belief that someone can be fully cured if he/she starts feeling better in the course of TB treatment hence defaulting.

In Migori, this year’s World Tuberculosis Day was celebrated in Suna East Constituency Migori County. Senior Ministry of Health (MOH) Suna East Ms Halima Muma highlighted that in 2020 there were 1,866 Tuberculosis cases in Migori County where 24 of the patients had resistance TB strain. In Suna East 246 cases were reported in 2020 with 8 cases of resistance Tuberculosis strain.

Muma highlighted that 40 per cent of all the total infection cases in Migori County 2020 came from the community. Muma urged the Community Health Workers to create awareness in villages they reside so that people can come out for TB screening. She urged the community to stand up and report any cases that may be associated with TB like symptoms.

Elsewhere at least 8 boda boda riders are being used by Trans Nzoia county hospital to reach out to TB patients in Trans Nzoia County.

            The riders who are also community Health volunteers have been trained to take samples across the county and take them to the nearby testing facility ascertain if residents have TB.

            Speaking to KNA in at the county governments offices during the World TB day Wednesday, County TB coordinator Ms Jane Alega said that many TB patients who did not show up to health facilities have come in late.

            She said that most patients feared to go to hospital thinking they could be quarantined as coughing was also one of Covid-19 symptoms.

KNA Team

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