Kenya is currently ranked 13th out of the 22 high burden countries in the world, which contribute around 80% of all tuberculosis (TB) cases. Every day, nearly 4,500 people die due to TB. These alarming figures were discussed during the World TB Day event held at Endebess Sub-County in Trans Nzoia County, where the chief guest was the Endebess member of county assembly, Kibet Ndiwa.
Mr. Ndiwa commended global efforts to combat TB, which have saved an estimated 54 million lives since 2000 and reduced the TB mortality rate by 42%. He noted that Trans Nzoia County currently has a treatment success rate of 81%, which is below the national target of 91%. This shortfall is mainly due to patients not completing their six-month treatment. He emphasized the importance of health education to patients and called for teamwork within the community.
The theme of this year’s World TB Day was “YES WE CAN END TB.” Mr. Ndiwa urged high-level leadership, increased investment, faster uptake of new recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO), adoption of innovation, accelerated actions, and multi-sectoral collaboration to combat the TB epidemic. He emphasized the need for action and called for an end to TB.
Dr. James Mairura, the USAID AMPATH UZIMA Trans Nzoia County Coordinator, spoke at the event and shared statistics that show the country has missed around 40% of TB prevention cases, which are mostly found in the community. He encouraged community members to seek medical attention if they experience symptoms such as severe cough, night sweats, and weight loss, which are signs of TB. He also emphasized the importance of immunization, particularly the BCG vaccine, in preventing TB.
Dr. Mairura stated that USAID AMPATH UZIMA is working with the county governments of Trans Nzoia to identify TB cases and ensure that there are enough diagnostic and treatment centers to bring down the number of TB cases in the county. He also called on the public not to stigmatize TB and HIV, as statistics show that 83% of TB cases are HIV-negative.
USAID AMPATH UZIMA appreciates its partnership with the county government and will continue to collaborate to integrate community activities to combat TB.