Tuberculosis has surpassed HIV/AIDS as the global leading cause of death, killing about 1.8 million people each year.
The World Health Organization estimates about 65000 people fall sick with TB every year and 40 percent of them go undetected and untreated, majority of who are in the productive age group of 24 to 45 years and therefore, investing in ending TB epidemic in country should be a priority.
According to the ministry of health Principal Secretary Dr. Nicholas Muraguri, in Kenya a total of 1.2 million people have been diagnosed with TB and one million TB patients were treated successfully over the last ten years.
Speaking today in Nairobi during the opening of a TB workshop, Muraguri said despite the budget gaps and severe under funding for TB, there has been a widespread concern about absorbing capacity of TB programs on allocated funding from the global fund and the scale up of interventions to meet TB targets.
He said in 2015, TB overtook HIV as the world’s top cause of death by an infectious disease; African regions alone contribute to about 26 percent of Global TB burden with total of 16 out of 30 TB high burden countries being in Africa.
“Sub Saharan Africa has a disproportionate of the disease, mostly fueled by HIV and poverty. Ethiopia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Kenya are among the 14 countries globally that remain on all three high TB burden country,” said Dr. Muraguri.
He said to curb the TB epidemic, WHO has developed the End TB strategy with an ambitious milestones and the global plan to end TB by improving management of TB programs and increase effectiveness and efficiency of TB Implementation.
“In the past five years, over 94 percent of patients with TB have been tested for HIV and over 93 percent placed on life saving anti-retroviral therapy. Through these interventions, Kenya’s TB and HIV co-infection rate has significantly dropped to thirty percent, which is half of what it was ten years ago,” said Muraguri.