NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 22 – Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have condemned the Isiolo County Assembly for taking over land that holds informal houses where TB patients are housed to make it possible to receive supervised drug administration.
The CSOs said the County Assembly Clerk sent out a letter dated March 17, 2016 which was also copied to the Speaker of the County Assembly to effect the changes in regards to the land.
Stop TB Partnership Chief National Coordinator, Evaline Kibuchi said the action by the county will bring TB prevention, treatment and care in Isiolo County to virtual paralysis.
“This decision by the County Assembly is a gross violation to human rights and denies the patients right to high-quality health care in a dignified environment, as provided in the TB patients charter developed by World Health Organisation,” she said.
Over 300 TB and 17 Multi-Drug-Resistant TB (MDRTB) patients are currently receiving treatment at this facility which caters for 70 percent of all TB cases in the County.
“The allocation of public land to private individuals has been a concern for many people in Isiolo County for a long time,” said Aden Abdi from National Empowerment Network of PLHIV in Kenya (NEPHAK).
Such actions are often done in secrecy and members of the public only come to realise that public land has been grabbed, after a title deed has been issued to private persons.
The Isiolo TB Manyatta was opened to offer in and out patient services to TB patients.
“If this decision is not averted, the progress in the fight against TB in the county and Kenya at large will be affected significantly,” said Aden. “This will include development of more cases of the dreaded drug resistant TB as a result of defaulting as patients will no longer be able to access medication.”
Aden also noted that it will be difficult to screen patients for active TB and TB infection; conduct TB diagnosis provide services to TB patients, and prescribe appropriate treatment.
Led by Stop TB Partnership-Kenya and Kelin1, Health CSOs and TB patients have petitioned the Isiolo County Assembly through its Speaker to revoke conversion of TB Manyattas land to County Assembly offices.
“They should reconsider the move and return the facility to serve the purpose for which it was initially designed,” cited Kibuchi, “This is the time to consolidate all resources towards this course. It’s not time to take away especially from TB patients.”