, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 4 – The government has said it will soon launch a local fund aimed at advocating for increased resources for TB control in Kenya.
The Head of TB division at the Ministry of Public Health, Dr Joseph Sitienei said on Friday that the fund to be known as Stop TB partnership would boost the grants Kenya gets from the Global fund and ensure the funds collected were used prudently.
“This will be an open forum and it will be architected in the same way as it is in the global level where we have the Stop TB partnership in Geneva housed by the World Health Organisation. So this will be a local mirror image of what is happening globally,” Dr Sitienei said.
Speaking during a visit at the Kenyatta National Hospital by Friends Africa, a Pan African non-governmental organisation, Capital Group Chairman Chris Kirubi pledged Sh1 million towards the fund and urged the private sector to support the initiative.
“This is in the spirit of encouraging Global fund to come on board to support the effort,” Mr Kirubi said.
“The challenges we have are many and we should not let the poor people suffer,” he added.
Friends Africa Chairperson Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede said although the Global fund had made tremendous progress towards financing Africa, there was need for the private sector to also join in.
“It is one thing to enable access to finance but it is much greater to enable access to life, access to good health care and the private sector has to appreciate that it is in our own self interest to also support financially the activities that are taking place to save our employees, to save our brothers and sisters,” he said.
The Deputy Executive Director of the Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria Dr Debrework Zewdie said it was necessary for countries to try and source internal funding for the three diseases.
“You cannot sustain control of these diseases by depending on outside governments all the time,” she said.
Statistics indicate that tuberculosis kills 1.2 million people every year globally. In Kenya, 110,000 cases of TB are recorded annually.
Currently there are over 500 cases of Multi drug resistant TB, which is a more serious type of TB that is resistant to drugs.
Dr Sitienei said a patient suffering from extensively drug resistant TB (X-DR TB), which is an advanced form of MDR-TB died on Thursday after nine months of treatment.
“This was the only case of XDR TB in East and Central Africa and we had already spent over Sh2million treating her,” he said.