NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 7 – The Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) on Wednesday opened an isolation area where Multi-Drug Resistant TB (MDR-TB) patients will receive treatment.
This was made possible through a Sh1 million donation by businessman Chris Kirubi which was used for construction of three tents where the MDR-TB patients will be receiving treatment.
“I personally commit myself, the Global Business Community to which I am a board member and my other companies that we will work with Kenyatta National Hospital,” Mr Kirubi pledged.
“It is easy to forget this institution and to think the government puts all the money here and yet diseases don’t plan when they will come… so we have to support you (KNH),” he noted.
MDR-TB is a more serious type of Tuberculosis that is resistant to two of the most powerful first line anti-TB drugs Rifampicin and Isoniazid.
MDR-TB patients are treated in isolation through second line treatment and takes up to two years to completely cure. It costs about Sh1 million to treat a single case.
KNH is currently attending to 24 patients with MDR-TB. Initially, according to Dr Henderson Irimu, head of HIV/TB treatment and care at the hospital, there were 67 patients but 43 of them were referred to their nearest district hospitals where they continue to receive the same treatment.
They are treated as outpatients and, through the support of donors, they are also given an allowance for food and transport to ensure they don’t skip treatment.
KNH Chief Executive Officer Richard Lesiyampe called upon other individuals and corporates to support the hospital as it endeavours to provide quality health care services to the public.
“These three tents have gone a great length to support our MDR-TB patients. As an institution, we have great challenges, great constraints in terms of physical and sometimes human capacity and this gesture from Chris Kirubi and his associates will really go a long way to alleviate some of the challenges we are facing as a hospital,” Mr Lesiyampe said.
Kenya ranks 13th on the list of 22 high-burden TB countries in the world and has the fifth highest burden in Africa.
By 2009, the country had 500 cases of MDR-TB.