Today is World Tuberclosis Day, on this day players in the health sector commemorate the day Mycobacterium Tuberculosis (the bacteria that causes TB) was discovered.

Players in the health sector commemorate this day by educating the public on matters of TB prevention, treatment and patient care.

First, TB has a cure and is treatable. Shockingly, it is also the fifth leading cause of death in Kenya. In 2019, over 86,000 cases of TB were reported and treated in the country with 10% of the reported cases being young children.

Kenya aims to end the disease by 2030 as per the Vision 2030 and Sustainable Development Goals. The fight against TB is however facing Anti-Microbial Resistance challenges not only in Kenya but all over the world.

Drug Resistant TB

In 2019, Kenya reported close to 700 cases of multiple drugs resistance TB(MDR-TB) which is complicated to treat compared to drug susceptible TB(DS-TB). According to the Ministry of Health, DS-TB treatment takes up to six months while MDR-TB treatment can take up to 20 months.

The complexity and high cost of Multiple Drugs Resistance TB has triggered players in the health sector to embark on a campaign to advocate for strict adherence to first line TB treatment. This is because, drug resistance TB mostly originates from misuse of TB fist line treatment and failure to adhere to prescribed treatment.

Once Drug Susceptible TB mutates to Drug Resistance TB, it can spread from one person to the other in that mutated form putting the general population at risk of  being infected.

To address the menace of the Drug Resistance TB, the Ministry of Health in 2020 implemented the policy and use of injectable DR-TB medication was scrapped. This is in line with World Health Organization recommendations since the injectable drugs were taking a toll on patients’ health and some would end up with permanent side effects such as hearing loss and Kidney damage. The daily injections were also reducing the medication uptake.

When you Should See a Doctor

People with fever, weight loss, night sweats, coughing, chest pains and coughing sputum with blood are advised to visit any government health facility for diagnosis. The government of Kenya offers free TB testing and treatment across the country.

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