• It has been challenging especially during the Covid-19 pandemic to do sensitisation programmes on TB.
• A lot needs to be done by partners and stakeholders to reach all who have been infected.
The matatu sector and drug dens have been identified as the main TB spreaders in Mombasa.
The county has recorded 180 tuberculosis cases since October last year, prompting Partnership for HIV-free Generation and stakeholders to track the hotspots with the aim of reducing the infections through sensitisation.
“That’s a very high number considering that TB is a highly infectious disease. It means there are quite a number of people who are infected out there who we have not reached out to or are unable to seek treatment,” the NGO's programme officer Jared Owuor said on Wednesday.
Owuor said a lot needs to be done by partners and stakeholders to reach all who have been infected. He spoke in a Mombasa hotel during the dissemination and authentication of TB hotspots and linkage to health facilities.
Most of the 180 cases are from Changamwe.
“We realised that Changamwe gives us the highest numbers and the question we are asking is: Does it mean that there are more TB cases in Changamwe or does it mean that there is something they are doing in terms of data capture and recording that is working well for them?”
Community health volunteer Aliya Abdhulrazak said it has been challenging especially during the Covid-19 pandemic to do sensitisation programmes on TB and also get statistics on the same as those infected are scared of revealing their status because the symptoms are similar to those of Covid-19.
“Right now when you go to the field, you will find people saying that they are not sick and we are there to test them for Covid-19,” she said.
Another challenge is that the volunteers are barred from visiting homes due to the pandemic and lack of PPEs.
“We could not visit homes to do sensitisation and check-ups because we lacked PPEs and we were also barred from visiting homes,” Aliya said.
She disclosed they at times tip people as the respondents are harsh.
“You will get a challenge whereby you will face harsh words but because we want to help the community we are forced to give them something small,” she said.
According to her, it is easy to deal with people in drug dens than with matatu owners.
- mwaniki fm