Kenya launches 2 policies to help tackle TB

Kenya’s Ministry of Health on Tuesday launched two policy documents to guide efforts aimed at ending tuberculosis (TB) in the country.

Rashid Aman, Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Health, said that the Kenya Injectable Free Regimens (KIFR) and Latent TB Infection (LTBI) Treatment policies are aimed at ensuring a TB free Kenya by 2035.

“In Kenya, TB is the fifth leading cause of death. In 2019, we reported and treated 86,504 cases of TB, of which approximately 10 percent are children,” Aman told journalists during the launch in Nairobi.

He said that drug-resistant TB cases have been on the rise, with 688 such cases in the country as of 2019.

The official, however, observed that despite TB diagnosis and treatment is free of charge in public and faith-based health facilities, not all who are infected with TB are reached and thus do not receive the required care.

He noted that KIFR policy guideline is a regimen for the treatment of multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) that is devoid of injections, in line with the World Health Organization (WHO) call to eliminate injectables from the MDR-TB treatment regimen to improve treatment outcomes.

Aman further said that LTBI policy guideline addresses the preventive treatment of latent TB infection and will be offered to individuals at risk of developing active TB.

Aman said that TB is one of the diseases alongside diabetes, cancer, HIV and hypertension that compound the problem of COVID-19 that is currently a major health problem in the country and globally.

He said that COVID-19 can be very severe in people with these underlying conditions adding that since the disease was first reported in the country, 6,366 people had tested positive, and 148 deaths were recorded as of Tuesday.