Kenya launches document on TB and Asthma management

The Ministry of Health yesterday launched revised key policy documents that will guide the management of Tuberculosis and Asthma in the country.

Director-General Dr Patrick Amoth who officiated at the launch ahead of the World TB-day scheduled for March 24, 2022, noted that the documents will provide up to date information to our frontline workers.

The documents included the Public-Private Mix Action Plan, Interim COVID-19/TB Management Guide, Integrated TB Leprosy and Lung Disease Guideline, and the Revised Asthma Management Guidelines.

Amoth said TB continues to be a major public health concern with Kenya being ranked among the high burden of TB and TB/HIV.

He pointed out that in 2020, the country recorded 72,943 TB cases of whom 8% (5,663) were children adding that the 2016 prevalence survey showed that the country nearly missed 40% of the estimated cases and that it was paramount that everyone is engaged in the fight against TB.

“While most health interventions for TB control have largely been focused and implemented in public health facilities, the private sector has been shown to account for 48% of health facilities with a significant proportion of people seeking care from these facilities,” added Dr Amoth.

The DG further noted that TB patient pathway analysis of 2016 showed that 42% of patients with TB symptoms access the private sector as the initial point of care, while 27% of the people with TB symptoms seek care from individual private providers who have inadequate engagement with the public system.

Amoth said Public-Private Mix (PPM) collaboration was important as it improves early TB diagnosis irrespective of where the patients first seek care, in the health system, and establish mechanisms that allow for efficient and high-quality diagnosis and treatment.

The DG noted that the COVID-19 pandemic threatened years of progress towards control of the

TB epidemic and the disruption in the healthcare system, caused by the pandemic, resulted in a reduction in the number of TB patients diagnosed and a rise in those interrupting treatment.

He said similarities between TB and COVID-19 present an opportunity to control these diseases in an effective manner without significant additional stress on the country’s health system.

Dr Amoth noted that the government through the National TB Program in collaboration with the development partners and citizenry participation seeks to actualize a TB-free Kenya.

“We need to intensify TB case-finding at the grassroots, increase Lab diagnosis and treatment of TB, particularly in children and special conditions as well as improve the management of drug-susceptible and drug-resistant TB,” he added.

He further said Chronic Lung diseases and Leprosy are of equal concern to the government and therefore concerted efforts are of great essence to reducing the suffering of our clients.

On Asthma Dr Amoth noted that it was a major noncommunicable disease affecting both children and adults, and there was a need for all stakeholders to heighten their focus to reduce under-diagnosis and under-treatment in our country.

“The epidemiology of asthma in Kenya has not been comprehensively described to date although a few epidemiological studies have been carried out and they suggest the disease is common. The disease may affect up to 10 percent of our population,” he added.

He further said reaching all care providers and health care workers to effectively prevent, diagnose and treat TB, Asthma and COVID-19 will require a people-centred approach, with comprehensive and integrated health services that address the needs of the whole person.

Dr Amoth noted that the Ministry of Health has made deliberate efforts to increase access and demand for healthcare services based on strong primary health care with an emphasis on promoting health and preventing disease in Universal Health Care.

He appealed to all stakeholders to put in action the principles of harmonization and alignment towards managing and ending the diseases adding that the private sector, in particular, offers numerous opportunities for advancing public health gains in prevention and care due to its vibrant, growing and always in a competitive mode.

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