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Kericho earns an award for addressing TB disease

Kericho County has been awarded by the Ministry of Health as the best performing County in Tuberculosis control activities, even as Kipkelion West in same area got recognized as the best performing Sub-County countrywide.

The awards were presented Thursday afternoon at Kericho County Referral Hospital during celebrations to mark the World TB Day under the theme, “Invest to End TB, Save Lives,” aimed at conveying the urgent need to invest resources to ramp up the fight against TB and achieve the commitments to end it.

Speaking during the occasion, the County TB Coordinator Elizabeth Kirui noted that TB was public health concern in the county as it is reporting over 2000 cases a year.

She added that the County will continue to invest and use the community units to sensitise communities within the county about TB and refer suspected cases to health facilities for screening and follow up with patients for six months.

“As a County we have made good progress and that is why we have been awarded for putting in place strategies and measures to end TB in Kericho as one of the high burden Counties with over 2000 cases of TB annually,” said Kirui.

Also present was the Kericho County Director of Medical Services Dr. Betty Langat who commended the efforts done by the TB department in ensuring the public had been informed about the mycobacterium bacilli which is spread when infected persons talk, cough or sneeze.

“We conduct screening and treatment for our patients free of charge, so we call upon the public who experience TB symptoms to walk in our health facilities for screening,” said Dr. Langat.

She further explained that the public should watch out for symptoms such as coughing for three or more weeks, coughing up blood or mucus, chest pains and difficulty in breathing, which could be an indication of TB infection.

Dr. Langat further said that in 2019, the government took over the costs of buying TB drugs, including the cost of all first line medicines, microscopy tests and GeneXpert cartridges.

“Achievements in ending TB will be possible through the Universal Health Coverage, equipping County Referral Laboratories to be able to perform the mandatory routine laboratory baseline and follow up tests, use of Covid-19 treatment facilities as Multi-Drug Resistant TB isolation centres and to further capacity build our health care workers on the appropriate management of Multi-Drug resistant TB,” said Dr. Langat.

She pointed out that the Ministry of Health was determined to provide social protection to all drug resistant TB patients by enrolling them for NHIF and providing them with monthly stipends for ease of access to healthcare.

“We are looking forward to adopting the latest improved diagnostics for children, which will use stool sample to replace the invasive sputum sample which has been difficult to obtain from younger children,” added Dr. Langat.

According to World Health Organisation, everyday over 4100 people die from TB and nearly 30,000 people fall ill with the TB disease despite it being preventable and treatable. Global efforts to combat TB have saved an estimated 66 million lives since the year 2000.

By Kibe Mburu

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