What you need to know:
- Some experts are, however, concerned by the number of patients who fail to adhere to medication, warning that this is likely to lead to drug resistance TB.
- Nationally, the Ministry of Health estimates that about 50 per cent of all people infected with the disease remain undiagnosed.
A month ago, Naomy Chepchirchir, a resident of Ngeria, Kesses in Uasin Gishu County, started coughing persistently. She was also sweating profusely at night.
After a few weeks of thinking it was a lingering cold, or possibly flu and would go away on its own, she decided to see a doctor.
Last Thursday, Ms Chepchirchir was among patients at the TB clinic wing of Uasin Gishu County Hospital who were lining up to be attended to. She had visited the facility to follow up on her medication after she tested positive for TB.
Health officials in Uasin Gishu have raised concerns over the rising numbers of TB cases in the region. According to the county’s Health Services department, there has been a surge in TB cases, with more than 1,900 presidents who were screened last year in December testing positive for the infectious bacterial disease.
Mr Charles Makwili, TB programme coordinator in Uasin Gishu, noted that the county recorded 1,907 new TB cases between January and December last year compared to 1,497 cases reported in 2021. “This means we had an increase of about 400 patients. That's about 30 per cent.”
He said the county has rolled out a one-month free screening exercise that will be conducted in all public health facilities besides enhancing disease surveillance in rural areas.
Some experts are, however, concerned by the number of patients who fail to adhere to medication, warning that this is likely to lead to drug resistance TB. Nationally, the Ministry of Health estimates that about 50 per cent of all people infected with the disease remain undiagnosed.
"Usually when a patient have resistant TB, we get a health worker to supervise them on a daily basis and this puts a strain on our health system. If Kenya is able to eradicate TB by 2035, then it means we can free more resources to other sectors of health,” said Mr Mwakili.
In the meantime, county officials have urged residents to visit public health facilities for free TB screening . Governor Jonathan Bii said his administration will focus on raising awareness about TB even as it seeks to reduce the burden of the disease.