December 18th 2017

Society / Health & Science

Survey reveals higher TB prevalence rate

The report established that a majority of TB cases were HIV negative, suggesting that broad efforts at controlling TB in people with and without HIV are needed and further observation confirming that the current practice of screening for TB symptoms using microscopy as the only test misses many case

By Samuel OwidaFriday, 24 Mar 2017 18:34 EAT

Kenya has celebrated the World TB Day with new improved data revealing that the prevalence rate stands at 558 per 100,000 people. In a joint press release to newsrooms by USAID, Ministry of Health, Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR), more than 63,000 people across the 45 counties were screened for the survey for accurate data update. 

The aforementioned partners provided technical and scientific support to Kenya Government in design and implementation of the survey as well as funding to the tune of Sh57,500,000. With this year’s theme of “Unite to End TB”, the survey revealed that TB is higher in young men between the ages of 25 and 34 years in urban areas and women over the age 65.

The report established that a majority (83 percent) of TB cases were HIV negative, suggesting that broad efforts at controlling TB in people with and without HIV are needed and further observation confirming that the current practice of screening for TB symptoms using microscopy as the only test misses many cases.

The use of the GeneXpert (an innovative technology for the diagnosis of TB) detected 78 percent of the TB cases, among those screened, making it a more reliable and efficient test.  

The Cabinet Secretary of Health, Dr Cleopa Mailu, said that, in light of these results and in an effort to find the missing TB cases, the Government commits to make TB diagnostics accessible where patients seek care by expanding the use of Chest X-ray to screen all persons presumed to have TB and make GeneXpert the first diagnostic test for all presumed TB cases.

World TB Day 2017 marks a critical turning point in redirecting efforts that will improve TB testing and diagnosis, increase engagement with the private sector, carry out targeted approaches through community-based action, improve community awareness of TB symptoms, and make TB everyone’s business. 

“More than ever before, we can direct the right interventions to the right places at the right time,” Dr Mailu said.

The writer is a contributing reporter for the Kenya Free Press based in Homa Bay County





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