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Kenya revamps TB drug supply chain for continued patient care

Kenya revamps TB drug supply chain for continued patient care

KENYA—Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha has stated that Tuberculosis (TB) drugs will be available in health facilities across the country.

This information was revealed at a press conference on January 5, during which she stated that the government has received sufficient stockpiles of TB drugs and expects more shipments by February to assure continued patient access to medication.

Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the top causes of death in Africa, so tracking treatment outcomes is critical for determining treatment efficacy.

Kenya has made progress in TB management in recent years, with the introduction of new digital chest X-ray machines aimed at reaching the more than 40% of patients with TB who are not diagnosed.

The Ministry of Health started the TB Innovative Technologies Tools Project (iNTP) for TB screening, diagnosis, and prevention in July 2022, with the goal of eliminating TB by 2030.

These discoveries, together with improved treatments, have helped Kenya move off the dreadful list of the 30 highest-burden multi-drug (MDR) or rifampicin-resistant -TB nations in 2021.

Prior to 2021, Kenya was one of 14 countries worldwide with a presence on all three lists of high-burden nations for tuberculosis, tuberculosis/HIV, and MDR-TB.

Kenya currently ranks among the world’s 30 countries with the highest TB burden.

As an old killer, tuberculosis (TB) remains one of Kenya’s top four primary causes of death among communicable, maternal, neonatal, and nutritional disorders.

According to Kenya’s Ministry of Health forecasts for 2020, more than 120,000 individuals develop tuberculosis each year, with children accounting for 10–11% of all TB cases and TB accounting for 3.2% of all deaths.

Nakhumincha emphasized that this assistance came from Tanzania and will enable Kenya to obtain enough goods that have already been disbursed.

She also stated that the government believes our present stock levels are adequate and that it is planning further supplies in February to ensure patient coverage.

This development followed concerns voiced by Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in October about a TB treatment shortage caused by supply constraints.

CS Nakhumicha acknowledged the difficulties encountered the previous year, explaining that these problems provided vital insights into efficiently managing critical tenders.

“We have learned valuable lessons regarding our supply chain and the tendering process for essential items,” she wrote.

Previously, tenders were only issued to one vendor; however, due to supply chain difficulties, the ministry has chosen to split the tenders and employ two suppliers.

The government hopes that by implementing this new policy, if one supplier encounters difficulties, the other will be able to step in to assure a constant supply of pharmaceuticals, preventing patients from experiencing shortages.

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