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Gov’t launches lung health policy documents programme

The Kenyan government in partnership with United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and World Health Organization (WHO) have launched the Lung Health Policy Documents Programme.

The policy which comprises of four key documents addressing Lung Health include, the Public Private Mix (PPM) Action Plan 2021-2023, Kenya National Asthma Management Guidelines, Interim Management Guide for Tuberculosis (TB) and Covid-19, and Integrated TB, Leprosy and Lung Disease Guideline.

Speaking at the launch held at a Nairobi Hotel today, the Ministry of Health Acting Director General Dr. Patrick Amoth said the documents are a robust boost to the health sector as they will help to eradicate the disease in the country.

He assured of the government’s commitment to the global fight against viral related lung disease, announcing that in 2020 the country experienced a spike in TB cases.

“A total of 73,000 TB cases were reported in 2020, with 5700 being children aged 10 and below, this is an indication of a sharp rise in number of cases from previous years, “said   Dr. Amoth.

He noted that Covid-19 posed a threat to many years’ effort the country had made in curbing the TB disease.

“In the context of Covid-19, many TB patients were misdiagnosed and undiagnosed, while others stopped treatment all together, painfully stalling the successful progressive treatment and management of the disease,” he added.

Dr. Amoth further stated that partnerships between the government and the private sector as well as civil societies, are important to galvanize resources and therefore help to plan jointly to enable a triumph over the TB global pandemic.

Expounding on one of the documents, the PPM Action Plan 2021-2023, Ministry of Health Coordinator of TB Prevention and Care Action Plan, Dr. Nkirote Mwirigi said the PPM Action Plan which has three pillars among them effective leadership and stewardship, optimize delivery and monitoring and evaluation of PPM interventions will increase the number of private facilities offering TB services.

“Despite the private sector being autonomous and dynamic, it is crucial for the public and private sector to work together to create a synergy in ending the TB pandemic,” Mwirigi noted.

Respiratory Society of Kenya, Founder Member Professor Jeremiah Chakaya, lauded the achievements that have been made to date in the fight against TB, he however noted that more needs to be done and urged health professionals to disseminate the guidelines contained in the documents and ensure they are properly adhered to.

In a quick rejoinder, USAID TB and HIV Specialist Maurice Maina said that USAID has partnered with the government and has already printed and disseminated 4500 copies of TB awareness literature material, trained healthcare workers and even supported the PPM Action plan.

This launch comes a week ahead of the World Tuberculosis Day celebrated annually on March 24.

By Audrey Cherotich 

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