KENYA—The Ministry of Health’s State Department for Public Health and Professional Standards, led by Dr. Josephine Mburu has held a meeting with various organizations to discuss the renovation of the Bio-Safety Laboratory Level-3 (BSL-3) at the National Public Health Laboratory (NPHL).

Among the organizations present were Amref, USAID, CDC, Global Fund National TB Programme, and the National Public Health Laboratory.

The discussion centered on upgrading the facility structurally, electrically, and mechanically to meet technical and regulatory standards.

The BSL-3 laboratory is designed to handle moderately hazardous biological agents, such as tuberculosis and malaria.

Therefore, upgrading it structurally, electrically, and mechanically, in accordance with technical and regulatory standards, is crucial.

Dr. Mburu emphasized that the upgrade of the facility is vital, as it will ensure the safety of staff and improve the quality of services offered to Kenyans.

The Global Fund, through Amref, will be supporting the project, and Dr. Mburu called for the timely completion of the renovation works within the defined grant timelines.

The investment in upgrading the BSL-3 laboratory will have a significant impact on Kenya’s public health system, as it will enhance the country’s ability to detect and respond to outbreaks of infectious diseases.

This is particularly important given recent global events that have demonstrated the importance of preparedness and response to emerging infectious diseases.

In 2021, an outbreak of Dengue Fever affected three counties of the coastal region, namely Mombasa, Kilifi, and Lamu.

This was supported by a DREF allocation. The first two months of 2022 also recorded two outbreaks that drew national response, Yellow Fever and Chikungunya.

The recent emergence and re-emergence of viral infections transmitted by vectors in the country, including Chikungunya, Dengue, Yellow Fever (YF), and others, is a cause for international concern.

Meanwhile, Kenya has made significant progress in reducing the number of people dying from tuberculosis (TB).

WHO says in a new analysis that the country has reduced by 35 percent the number of people dying from TB, compared to the deaths recorded in 2015.

The country has also reached the target of reducing by 20 percent new tuberculosis cases compared to those in 2015, as part of the World Health Organization’s End TB Strategy, which aims to end the disease by 2035.

Kenya is among the only seven countries in Africa that have made that progress, including Eswatini, Mozambique, South Sudan, Togo, Uganda, and Zambia.

Upgrading laboratory facilities to meet modern standards is critical in ensuring that health professionals have the necessary tools to combat these diseases and prevent their spread.

With the upgrading of the Bio-Safety Laboratory BSL-3 at the NPHL, Kenya will be better equipped to handle infectious diseases and respond to outbreaks, thereby improving the country’s public health system.

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