Today marks World Tuberculosis day commemorated annually on March 24 to raise public awareness about the devastating health, social and economic consequences of the disease.
Kiambu County has been running awareness and sensitization forums on Tuberculosis in stepping up efforts to end the global epidemic.
Speaking to KNA Thursday, the Kiambu Sub County Health Officer Dr Monicah Mwangi, noted that due to the growing rate of tuberculosis infections in the area, they have gone beyond and started door to door tuberculosis sensitization campaign.
“This move follows reports by the Ministry of Health that the country is currently recording 240 patients every day, with high infection rate blamed on increasing ignorance by the public about the disease,” Mwangi said.
The campaign, she added, has seen the ministry offer free tuberculosis screening as well as sensitizing the public on how to avoid contracting the disease.
“Children are powerful change agents when equipped with the right information as taught in schools. When the schools open, we will sensitize our children in schools about tuberculosis. We will give them educational materials and engage them in identifying the common symptoms of tuberculosis and daily preventive measures they must exercise in their daily lives,” she said.
Tuberculosis is the fifth leading cause of death in Kenya (contributing 4.7percent of deaths), 50 deaths per 100,000 people in 2017, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), with its deaths reported to be higher among men than women, particularly among those between ages of 20 and 64 years, the most economically active and productive age group.
Mwangi said that tuberculosis treatment is free in any public hospital in Kenya and that it is curable so no one should lose his/her life because of tuberculosis.
“Tuberculosis is a curable disease and treatment is also offered for free in Kenyan public health facilities with the government’s goal of ending tuberculosis by 2030 being on course, despite the formidable challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
She explained that the fear of contracting Covid-19 has discouraged many from visiting health facilities even if they display tuberculosis symptoms and precious time is lost before testing and treatment begins.
According to World Health Organization (WHO), over 4100 people die from tuberculosis every day and nearly 30,000 people fall ill with tuberculosis despite it being preventable and treatable.
The theme for this year’s World Tuberculosis Day 2022 is ‘invest to End tuberculosis. Save Lives’.
The World TB Day started way back in 1882 when Dr Robert Koch announced that he had discovered the bacterium that causes tuberculosis, which opened the way toward diagnosis and cure of the disease.
By John Masila