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Health PS Urges County to Conduct Extensive Screening to Curb Increased TB

Health Standards and Professional Management PS Dr. Josephine Mburu has called on the county administration of Uasin Gishu to conduct mass screening at the community level in order to curb the increasing cases of TB in the county.

Speaking during World TB Day commemorated at Huruma grounds, Eldoret, Dr. Mburu noted that the data collected from screening in the last week revealed that TB transmission was ongoing.

“When we started screening 132 to 420 households last week, among them we had presumptive of 2430, for those we took X-Ray were 610 among our households, suggestive Xray were 81. Among the 132 we got 112, that tells us within this locality we are not going to stop screening,” she noted.

“I am requesting the governor to do it for another 2-3 weeks because it proves that among the screened, we have 5 per cent cases,” she added.

The PS urged the governor through the CECM for health to mobilize the Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) to go to the community to identify and start contact tracing to help curb the transmission sequence.

Noting that the Kenya Kwanza administration agenda on health is on upscaling preventive and promotive health care at the primary level, Dr. Mburu lauded the county government of Uasin Gishu for the commendable steps it has taken in establishing proper health infrastructure by investing in TB diagnostic equipment.

At the same time, the PS reiterated the need to strengthen surveillance at the point of entry for the Marburg Virus Disease (MVD) that had recently been reported in the neighbouring countries.

“As a border from this side we are screening at the point of entry from the border and the airport for Marburg fever, this week we have seen reported cases of Marburg fever that had been diagnosed at Equatorial Guinea and Tanzania and each country has reported 7 cases. We are not going to stop surveillance even here in Eldoret, it is a point of entry,” she said.

“We need to work together with the national team to strengthen surveillance through primary health care and we will achieve the Universal Health Coverage (UHC),” added Dr Mburu.

Uasin Gishu Governor Jonathan Chelilim revealed that the county experienced a 30 percent increase rate of TB cases, the highest ever in the county in the last 10 years.

Following the increase in case notification last year which placed the county at position 6 countrywide, Chelilim pointed out that his administration came up with key strategies to combat the disease and moved with speed to purchase TB diagnosis equipment and quickly instituted screening in all public and private facilities and also to increase community awareness.

“Last year in our county 1910 people were diagnosed with TB which translated to a 30 percent increase rate and the highest in the last 10 years. My administration has moved with speed to improve diagnostic infrastructure through acquisition of 2 naïve bayes classifier machines for turbo sub county and introduction of a sample referral network through the GeneXpert Molecular Diagnostic Testing System in MTRH, Huruma and Moi Barracks hospitals,” said Chelilim.

He mentioned that TB is a highly infectious and killer global disease that claims approximately 1.5 million lives annually, as he called on every citizen to take preventive measures such as cleanness and focusing more on good ventilation as one way to minimize the transmission sequence.

He noted that TB screening is currently ongoing in all the health facilities in Uasin Gishu as he urged every citizen to pay a visit to the nearest facility for screening when experiencing suspected signs and symptoms of TB.

“Our current treatment success rate stands at 89.5 percent as we edge closer to the national rate of 90 percent. We are determined to ensure all the informal settlements are captured in the health statistics and also provided with access to health interventions,” he said.

He urged all the key players to have strong commitment to involve the community through volunteers and public health officers as they are critical in locating the health cases at the grassroots and refer them to the nearest facility.

Chelilim indicated that his administration was working closely with the national government in collaboration with TB partners to support the achievement of the WHO vision to have a world free of TB by the year 2035.

By Ekuwam Sylvester

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