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Nakuru County bears a high burden of TB

Nakuru County is among the ten counties with the highest burden of Tuberculosis (TB) in the country and leaders have been urged to increase funds for its diminution and give it more prominence by speaking about it in meetings.
Chief National Coordinator Stop TB-Kenya, Evaline Kibuchi said the 2016 Ministry of Health Survey revealed that TB was more prevalent and widespread in the country than it was previously thought.
The survey revealed an estimated prevalence of all forms of TB at 233 per 100,000 populations and the mortality was 20 per 100,000 people. She was speaking Thursday during a TB workshop at a Nakuru Hotel.
She said the survey revealed that stigmatization of TB has contributed to delays in diagnosis and the abandonment of treatment, leading to an increase in drug-resistant TB, which takes twenty months to treat.
She added that other stigmas’ associated with TB were HIV, poverty, poor housing and filthy. But she said the disease was far from being a poor man’s disease because the viruses were in the environment and anybody who breathes would get it.
However, she acknowledged that poor housing conditions, especially lack of ventilation contributed a great deal in the spread of the diseases. Therefore; fighting poverty was necessary to accelerate economic and social growth and reduce the global burden of TB.
Kibuchi said the high burden of TB in Nakuru County was attributed to its fast urban growth, which has led to increased slums and poor living conditions which hastens the spread of TB. Other urban areas with elevated prevalence are Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu and Busia.
She said: “poor living conditions and overcrowding, especially in hostels, prisons, refugee camps and congested classrooms were bleeding grounds for the spread of TB.”
She gave the example of a congested primary school in the county which after screening for TB revealed 38 pupils who were not on treatment despite the persistent coughs.
She noted that much as education for all was a good policy, the country has not matched the increased number of learners with class rooms and neither has ventilation been improved in the congested schools.
She added that another risk factor for TB predisposed individuals in urban slums was malnutrition because balanced deities were beyond their reach, and the disease thrives in people with reduced immunities.
By Veronica Bosibori

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