KENYA – The Kenyan Ministry of Health has launched key policy documents to guide the management of Tuberculosis and Asthma in the country as well as provide updated lung health information to healthcare workers.

The policy entails four key documents addressing lung health including the Public Private Mix (PPM) Action Plan, Integrated Tuberculosis Leprosy and Lung Disease Guideline, Interim Management Guide for Tuberculosis / Covid-19 and Revised Asthma Management Guidelines.

The PPM Action Plan which has three pillars including effective leadership and stewardship will optimize delivery, monitoring and evaluation of interventions to increase the number of private facilities offering TB treatment services.

In addition, the United States Agency for International Development has partnered with the government to print and disseminate 4,500 copies of TB awareness literature material, trained healthcare workers and even supported the PPM Action plan.

To effectively prevent, diagnose and treat TB, Asthma and COVID-19, care providers and health care workers have been advised to take a people-centered approach with comprehensive and integrated health services that address the needs of the whole person.

The Ministry of Health has also made significant efforts to increase access and demand for healthcare services based on strong primary health care with emphasis on promoting health as well as preventing disease in Universal Health Care.

During the launch, Acting Director General for Health Dr Patrick Amoth cautioned that Tuberculosis still a serious public health concern with Kenya being ranked among the high burden in TB and TB/HIV.

Kenya recorded 72,943 TB cases of whom 5,663 were children in 2020 while the 2016 prevalence survey showed that the country nearly missed 40% of the estimated cases indicating a rise in number of cases from previous years, reports the health ministry.

Dr Patrick Amoth stressed that it was for everyone to engaged in the fight against Tuberculosis as he reaffirmed the government’s commitment to the global fight against viral related lung disease.

While most health interventions for TB control have largely been focused and implemented in public health facilities, the private sector has been shown to account for 48% of health facilities with a significant proportion of people seeking lung care,” noted Dr Amoth.

He said that the TB patient pathway analysis of 2016 shows that 42% of patients with TB symptoms accessed the private sector as the first point of care while 27% of the people with TB symptoms sough care from individual private providers who have inadequate engagement with the public system.

Public-Private Mix collaboration comes at the right time to improve early TB diagnosis irrespective of where the patients first seek care in the health system and establishes mechanisms that allow for efficient, high-quality diagnosis and treatment.

In addition, Dr Patrick Amoth observed that the similarities between TB and COVID-19 presented an opportunity to control both respiratory diseases in an effective manner without additional stress on the health system.

The government through the National TB program in collaboration with the development partners and the citizenry participation seeks to actualize a Tuberculosis-free Kenya,” he assured.

He emphasized the need to intensify TB case-finding at the grassroots, increase lab diagnosis and treatment of TB especially in children and special conditions as well as improving the management of drug-susceptible and drug-resistant TB.

He further urged stakeholders to practice the principles of harmonization and alignment towards managing and ending the lung related diseases stressing that the private sector offers numerous opportunities for advancing public health.

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