The County Government of Busia has recorded drastic drop in Tuberclosis(TB) cases, leaving six counties in the country including Siaya to bear the high burden of the killer pandemic.
Addressing a capacity building workshop at Pride Hotel in Bondo that brought together journalists from Busia and Siaya and communication officers from the two counties on the need to scale up efforts to reduce TB prevalence in the country, Busia County TB coordinator, Mary Asoyong said TB is still a public health concern in Kenya.
Ms Asoyong said the county recorded 941 cases in 2016. It increased to 1300 and 1340 in 2017 and 2018 before dropping to 1167 in 2019 and 757 in 2020.
This is in big contrast with Siaya which recorded 1697, 1852, 2126, 2152 and 2260 cases respectively during the same period.
She said the success story in Busia in having drastic reduction in TB prevalence was owing to improved surveillance for drug resistant TB, noting that Surveys sites have helped detect many of such cases.
However, the coordinator said the increase in Drug Resistant TB in the County was attributed to failure to take medication and to adhere to guidelines,
quality of drugs and their availability (stockouts), reiterating that late diagnosis was the cause of high TB death rate which she said can be addressed through advocacy.
Deputy Director National TB Program Samuel Misoi noted that men lead in TB prevalence in the country at 56 per cent due to what he attributed to excess alcohol consumption, smoking and social interaction which reduces their immune system, adding that Kenya targets to wipe out TB by 2030.
Communication Director in charge of Health in Siaya County, Jeremy Ochieng said there is need to consider the media as frontliners, thus the need to have them vaccinated against Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
Asoyong said Busia County also recorded very few cases of Leprosy. It registered
6 cases in 2016, 10 in 2017, and 8, 14 and 7 in 2018, 2019 and 2020 respectively.
Putting the record straight, the TB coordinator attributed the high leprosy burden in the county to patients from Siaya who seek treatment for leprosy in Busia County.
Busia County Health Promotion Coordinator, Nelson Andanje said although treatment for TB is free, the Government spends nearly Sh2million to treat a drug resistant TB patient and over Sh25,000 for normal TB, thus the need for advocacy to address the social impact of the pandemic.
As the country gears for World TB Day celebrations on March 23, 2021, Mr Andanje urged the media to give matters health a priority, especially TB to create an awareness on inherent dangers paused by the pandemic.
Komesha TB (End TB) is a USAID funded program implemented by the Kenya Conference of Catholics Bishops in Kenya which targets to end disease by 2030.