Early detection key in fight against tuberculosis in Kenya
Early detection of tuberculosis will help Kenya curb transmission of the disease. This is according to Dr Meshack Ndirangu, Amref Health Africa Country Director for Kenya.
Speaking at the ongoing 4th Kenya International Lung Health Conference and Exhibition in Nairobi, Dr. Ndirangu noted that up to 40% of the TB cases in Kenya go undetected and untreated, contributing to the cycle of transmission of the diseases. Kenya is ranked 14th among high TB-burden countries that contribute to 80 per cent of the global TB burden.
Dr Ndirangu told participants at the Lung Health Conference that Amref Health Africa was focusing on innovative approaches to identify undetected and untreated TB cases. “Our interventions address TB care and prevention, Drug Resistant Tuberculosis, TB/HIV, key populations, training of health workers, and monitoring and evaluation. We are also looking at innovative approaches to finding missing cases,” he said.
A speech by Cabinet Secretary for Health, Dr Cleopha Mailu said that it was important to promote the lung health agenda because Kenya continues to bear a large burden of lung disease. A national TB survey indicated that there are more than 126,000 people living with TB in Kenya.
The Lung Health Conference was organised by Amref Health Africa, the Ministry of Health and the Kenya Association for the Prevention of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (KAPTLD). Dr Joseph Aluoch, represented KAPTLD. Also present at the opening ceremony wasDr Rudi Eggers, World Health Organization Country Representative.
This year’s conference focused primarily on fighting TB. In this regard, it emerged that in addition to promoting early detection, it was also necessary to highlight the correlation between TB and poverty.
According to Kenya’s inaugural TB prevalence survey, which was released earlier in March this year, poverty and social deprivation are key contributory factors to Kenya’s large TB disease burden.