Trans Nzoia County Health CEC Claire Wanyama has reiterated the county government’s commitment to raising public awareness about the devastating health, social and economic consequences of TB and to step up efforts to end the global TB epidemic.
Speaking during the launch of the county strategic plan to end the epidemic at the Tom Mboya health centre which has reported the highest number of TB patients, the CEC revealed that in 2020 the county government managed to identify 945 persons living with TB of which 6% of the cases were children.
She said the county plans to invest not only in other illnesses but also in TB, saying a large population of Kenyans is suffering from the disease. The country is currently ranked 15th among the 22 high burden countries that collaboratively contribute about 80% of the world’s TB cases.
“Trans Nzoia County has a treatment success rate of 80% but we can do even better and reach the 92% that is required nationally and even surpass and ensure that we get 100 % adhering to the six months treatment plan. The county’s cure rate is 57% which is below the national cure rate of 71.2%. Following this year’s celebrations of TB Day and the teamwork we have, I am sure we will re-energize ourselves to ensure that come next year, we are above our cure rate of 57%,” she added.
She said most of the identified cases are drug-sensitive and respond well to standard treatment with a combination of drugs, but failure to complete a proper course of treatment encourages the development of multidrug resistance TB which is difficult and costly to treat and has poorer outcomes.
The CEC member said around 2.6% of all cases of TB in the country are multidrug-resistant, the detection rate is about 75% of which the treatment of most cases takes at least six months, and in Kenya, the adherence rate is said to be good which contributes to the 86% treatment success rate.
The Health CEC added that in the country, TB is the 5th leading cause of death with the large increase of TB being attributed primarily to (HIV) with other factors including high poverty level with consequent socio-economic deprivation, adding that Over 93% of TB suffers are tested for HIV and 83% are given anti-Retroviral treatment.
The CEC said with this year’s World TB Day celebrations that was marked last week emphasized on the need to strategize well on how to improve the health of the people through the increase of the edification and management of TB in the county and the country in general.
Trans Nzoia County Director of Health Dr. Nancy Kegode said TB was thought to be forgotten but it is remerging in the west where they thought they had eradicated it.
“TB has not gone even in the countries that we think it has gone, so if we do a good job and put up our shields, we can help to get rid of it globally. If we are going to invest in TB we have to invest more time and effort. It’s not so much about the money because TB is well funded by the national government and a lot of other partners including Ampath, Uzima, and World Vision among others,” she said.
She added, “With the huge support, there should be no excuses why we cannot reach every Kenyan and have them screened for TB.”
Kegode said the department of health in the county has launched screening for county staff and already it has achieved a lot as 33% of the staff have been checked.
“Whatever we say and have put on our strategic plan and what we do must not just be a song it must be something that we will go and make effective in our various places of work, so I would like to encourage each one us to do a little bit more than you are doing every day,” Kegode said.
The Health Director said the implementation of the plan conforms with the global goal of ending TB by 2035, saying “We have 13 years to achieve the goal”.
The launch also was graced by AMPATH, UZIMA Trans Nzoia County Coordinator Mr. James Mairura who affirmed the organization’s support in the fight against TB in the county in collaboration with other stakeholders through training and TB activities facilitations to end TB by 2035.
By Kosuri Valarie