, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 28 – Drug resistant TB still remains a major health concern in the country.
According to the 2015 TB Drug Resistance Survey, 305 cases of Multi-drug resistant TB had been reported in the country, the highest figure in the last ten years.
In 2014, there were 283 cases while in 2013 the number was 285.
Kamene Kimenye, the deputy head of National Tuberculosis Leprosy and Lung Disease program said majority of the cases have been recorded in Dadaab camp owing to the refugee population.
“Currently there are 105 reported cases that are isolated and on treatment in the camp,” said Kimenye, “The problem is that they’re diagnosed in Somalia then they cross the border to access the treatment.”
Kimenye also emphasized on the need for more financial support to take care of the refugees diagonised with TB.
“The cost of taking care of the refugees with TB is quiet high. Where possible we need to start thinking of how we can support them,” said Kimenye, adding “We need more support from the Somali Government to be able to take over most of their patients more so now that the country is showing signs of stability.”
Kimenye adds that only 2 labs in Nairobi and Kisumu are operative in testing for drug resistant TB
“We need to strengthen other labs in other counties to counter this strain of TB. There are 5 labs that have been built but are not yet functional, which could help decentralize the services,” noted Kimenye.
Last week, the ministry of health directed that from the July 2016, all TB facilities should adopt the GeneXpert equipment to test individuals suspected to have drug resistant TB or HIV related TB.