TUBERCULOSIS

Kenya launches policy to replace injection in TB treatment

86,504 TB cases were treated in 2019 out of which 10 percent involved children.

In Summary

• Aman said 86,504 TB cases were treated in 2019, out of which, 10 per cent involved children.

• “TB remains the fifth highest cause of death in the country. Despite diagnosis and treatment being free across the country, those who are infected are not effectively reached,” he said.

A file photo of TB patients in a Mombasa hospital
A file photo of TB patients in a Mombasa hospital

Kenya has launched two policy documents aimed at eliminating the use of injections to treat TB.

The Health ministry, through CAS Dr Rashid Aman, on Tuesday said the two policy documents aim to make TB treatment more accessible, easier and friendly to patients.

Aman said 86,504 TB cases were treated in 2019, out of which, 10 per cent involved children.

“TB remains the fifth highest cause of death in the country. Despite diagnosis and treatment being free across the country, those who are infected are not effectively reached,” he said.

Aman said there is also a concern over the rising cases of drug resistant TB.

He said last year some 866 cases of resistance were reported.

“This is why the two documents are key to the Ministry’s strategic plan towards eliminating TB by 2030. This will enable us to provide the right and proper care as we roll out multiple treatment resistance TB eliminating injectables to improve outcomes,” he said.

The CAS said the second document will focus on preventive treatment to those with active TB.

There is also a plan to reduce the cost of TB treatment in private facilities from the current Sh4,500 per treatment to Sh1,500.

Aman said it is not yet clear out of the 148 patients who have died as a result of Covid-19 who had TB as the underlying factor.

"The data is there and we shall provide it soon. This includes TB patients who are positive for the virus,” he said.

On Tuesday, Kenya reported 176 new cases of Covid-19, raising the country's total confirmed cases to 6,366.

The new cases emerged from 2,419 samples that were tested in the last 24 hours.

Aman said Kenya's cumulative tests now stand at 168,696.     

The youngest of the new cases is aged three years, while the oldest is 78 years.

The CAS said a total of 26 patients have been discharged, raising number of coronavirus  recoveries in the country to 2,039.

On a sad note, another four more patients died, raising the total fatalities to 148.