As the world prepares to mark the annual TB Day, stakeholders engaged in the fight against the disease in Meru County have raised concerns over the high number of cases in the region.
The County TB coordinator Eunice Kanana, says according to the Ministry Of Health TB annual report for 2019, Meru was second to Nairobi County in terms of the infected number of people.
During the same year, 4,154 TB cases were reported in the area, while 3,607 and 3,815 were reported in 2020 and 2021 respectively.
Kanana said that the leading local sub-county in terms of infections was Igembe South followed by Imenti North and Imenti South at the third position.
“In the year 2020, Igembe South recorded 768 cases of TB infections and 748 in 2021. Imenti North on the other hand recorded 600 cases in 2020 and 610 in 2021 while, 592 and 700 cases were recorded in Imenti South in 2020 and 2021 respectively,” she said.
The coordinator said the contributing factor to the high number of cases in the county was the residents’ lifestyle and their health-seeking behaviour.
“You will realize that our people do not visit hospitals for a regular check-up and one might have been infected with TB long ago. Another issue contributing to the increased cases is the social lifestyle of our people where you will find them sharing many things including utensils and also overcrowding in poorly-ventilated rooms, especially those who chew miraa,” she said.
Kanana added that the coming of the Covid-19 pandemic also greatly contributed to high infections and untreated cases considering that many people were afraid to visit hospitals during this period.
“If you carefully look at these numbers, you will realise that they had decreased between 2019 and 2020 but started increasing again in 2021, when Covid-19 cases were rampant in the country,” she said.
Kanana called on those residents not yet infected to take precautions, while urging persons already suffering from the disease to seek medical attention from any of the nearby public hospitals.
“We treat TB patients for free and they can get this care from any of our public facilities,” she added.
By Dickson Mwiti