China donated on Friday 100,000 bottles of anti-tuberculosis drug, called pasiniazide, to Kenya in an effort to help the country to fight the killer disease.
The medicine, worth 70 million shillings (about 900,000 US dollars), was donated by Chinese Ambassador to Kenya Du Qiwen on behalf of China Society for Promoting Guangcai Program, a NGO of Chinese entrepreneurs in the private sector, to the Kenyan Ministry of Health.
Pasiniazide is an effective anti-TB drug made in China. On average, 10 bottles of the drug will be sufficient to treat a patient with TB, therefore, the amount donated is expected to treat 10,000 cases, said Du at the handing-over ceremony.
Kenya is one of the 22 countries worldwide that have the highest TB rate, and they contribute to almost 80 percent of the global TB burden, said Kenyan Minister for Medical Services Hussein Mohamed at the ceremony.
"The country has witnessed a steady increase in the number of registered TB cases in the last ten years," he said.
In 2001, the ministry registered 73,017 new cases of tuberculosis, he said, adding that the advent of HIV epidemic, urbanization and increasing poverty are some of the factors contributing to the increase of TB cases in Kenya.
Currently, case detection rate in the country stands at 47 percent and the treatment success rate is 79 percent, which are below the respective targets of 70 percent and 85 percent set by the World Health Organization, he said.
The Kenyan minister announced that his ministry will ensure that the anti-TB drugs continue to be provided free of charge to all public health institutions and NGOs, but he admitted that the cost of the drugs is one of the greatest challenge in the fight against the disease.
Mohamed thanked the Chinese government for the donation, saying that he hoped China will continue to help Kenya in this regard both technically and financially.
Du said that the donation is an important follow-up action for the China-Africa Cooperation Forum that was held in Beijing in 2000, that China and Kenya enjoyed very friendly relations that continue to expand and deepen.
There is great potential for cooperation in the health service sector between the two countries, Du noted, adding that he hoped that such cooperation will be further enhanced.
(China Daily November 9, 2002)