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Taita Taveta Intensifies Efforts to Combat Tuberculosis

Taita Taveta Intensifies Efforts to Combat Tuberculosis


Sunday, March 24, 2024,

KNA by Arnold Linga Masila

In a determined effort to curb the spread of tuberculosis (TB) and improve treatment outcomes, Taita Taveta County has ramped up its initiatives, leveraging collaboration and innovation, as highlighted during the World TB Day commemoration event at Wundanyi.

Governor Andrew Mwadime emphasized the power of partnerships, stating, “Improved coordination and collaboration among partners in Taita Taveta has enabled us to enhance development and uptake of innovative tuberculosis diagnostic and treatment interventions, which are people-centred.”

He urged the residents to take advantage of the GeneXpert diagnostic test available at the Moi County Referral Hospital in Voi and in Taveta Hospital in determining their health status about TB infections as Kenya strives to prioritize interventions to reduce tuberculosis transmission and mortality in line with the goal, ‘End Tuberculosis by 2030.’

Deputy Governor Christine Kilalo echoed his sentiments, stressing the importance of prioritizing investments in TB prevention and control programs, particularly for marginalized populations and underserved communities.

County Executive Committee Member for Health Services, Gifton Mkaya reiterated the county’s efforts to combat stigmatization and discrimination associated with TB, especially concerning its link with HIV/AIDS.

“We are dedicated to eliminating the stigma surrounding TB and HIV/AIDS, which often acts as a barrier to accessing medical care by most of the infected people,” said Mkaya.

Further, Mkaya noted that partnerships with organizations like Blue Cross Nyatike have facilitated the provision of high-quality laboratory diagnosis of TB, alongside strengthening support and supervision in rural health facilities.

Eddy Chichi and Jenifer Mwandawiro, TB survivors and activists, encouraged the public to undergo screening for TB symptoms promptly, emphasizing the importance of early detection and treatment in managing the disease.

Despite progress, challenges persist. Statistics reveal an increase in TB cases both nationally and within Taita Taveta, with Kenya reporting over 97,000 cases in 2023, and Taita Taveta documenting 687 cases, highlighting a need for intensified efforts.

Of concern is the fact that approximately 50% of people with TB remain unreached each year, underscoring the importance of proactive screening and outreach initiatives.

Moreover, while Kenya and Taita Taveta boast treatment success rates of 88%, slightly below the program target of 92%, efforts are ongoing to improve outcomes and reach more individuals, Particularly men who exhibit poorer health-seeking behaviors yet account for a significant proportion of TB cases.

Addressing myths and misconceptions, Mkaya revealed that only a small percentage of TB cases are co-infected with HIV, dispelling stigma and encouraging more individuals to seek TB treatment services without fear or discrimination.

The commemoration event saw the presence of key stakeholders, including DCC Taita Sub-County, Maina Nguyi, CCO Health Services Ms. Violet Mkamburi, and other officials, signifying a collective commitment to combating TB in Taita Taveta.

As Kenya works towards the goal of ending TB by 2030, the efforts of Taita Taveta County serve as a beacon of hope, demonstrating that with collaboration, innovation, and community engagement, the fight against TB can be won.

Courtesy; KNA

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