Kenya to invest in tuberculosis clinics in urban slums

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The Kenyan ministry of health and multilateral partners will invest in 100 tuberculosis clinics in urban slums where the burden of the highly infectious disease is heaviest, an official said Thursday.

Speaking at an event to mark World TB Day in Nairobi, Principal Secretary for Health, Dr Nicholas Muraguri said construction of modern and well equipped health centers in the slums will enhance detection and treatment of tuberculosis.

"We are going to invest in 100 tuberculosis clinics in the densely populated slums of Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu to strengthen response to the disease," said Muraguri, adding that 20 tuberculosis clinics will be opened in Nairobi by the end of May.

Kenyan urban slums have the highest burden of tuberculosis thanks to overcrowding and poor hygienic practices.

Muraguri noted that last year alone, 12,000 new TB cases were detected in Nairobi's expansive shanty villages.

He added the ministry of health will partner with key stakeholders to invest in additional tuberculosis clinics in the urban slums.

"We intend to scale up TB interventions in the high burden areas where infections are fuelled by economic, social and environmental factors," Muraguri said.

Kenya is among Sub-Saharan African countries with a high burden of TB infections and deaths.

According to the ministry of health, TB is the fourth leading cause of deaths in Kenya while infrastructural bottlenecks, environmental pollution, co-infection with HIV and drug resistance have complicate efforts to eradicate the disease.

Over the last ten years, an estimated 1.2 million Kenyans were diagnosed with TB while 200,000 succumbed to the bacterial disease.

Muraguri said that besides robust policy interventions, Kenya has adopted innovative technologies to strengthen detection and treatment of tuberculosis.

He disclosed that Kenya has recorded success in the war against TB as evidenced by declining infections and deaths for the last decade.

"Kenya remains the first country in Sub-Saharan Africa to reach the World Health Organization targets for TB case detection and treatment. The combination of new interventions has averted 500,000 deaths from the disease in the last ten years," Muraguri said. Enditem

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