KENYA – The Ministry of Health has begun developing new guidelines for the management and treatment of tuberculosis (TB), leprosy and lung diseases.

Principal Secretary Ministry of Health State Department for Public Health and Professional Standards, Dr Josephine Mburu officiated over a stakeholder meeting on the development of the 2023-2028 Tuberculosis, Leprosy and Lung Health Strategic Plan.

The Strategy which will draw from lessons learnt will guide the country to build on the milestones towards the elimination of TB by 2030.

The new strategy is being developed by key stakeholders in the health sector from both the national and county governments, partners and community representatives.

Even though Kenya has made progress in reducing TB cases and infections, the disease remains a major health concern.

Tuberculosis is a potentially serious infectious disease that mainly affects the lungs.

The bacteria that cause tuberculosis are spread from person to person through tiny droplets released into the air via coughs and sneezes.

The PS called for ownership and alignment of the Strategic Plan with the overarching National Health Strategy.

“Through ownership, the strategy will offer direction for the next five years. Let us come up with interventions that are resilient, sustainable and community-centered,” she said.

Some of the key strategies the new plan will consider include early case detection and cutting the transmission cycle in the community and screening through community health care workers.

Mburu committed to mobilising resources to ensure successful implementation of the strategy.

About one-quarter of the world’s population is infected with a latent form of TB that causes no symptoms and is not contagious.

Without treatment, five to 10 per cent of those infected will develop active TB, which causes severe illness and can be transmitted from person to person through the air.

Last year, various partners announced plans to lower the price of rifapentine (RPT)-based treatments to prevent tuberculosis in low- and middle-income countries including Kenya.

Rifapentine is used in combination with other medicines to treat active or inactive (latent) tuberculosis.

The move by Unitaid, Aurum Institute, the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) and MedAccess under the IMPAACT4TB project will also see Kenya benefit from KSh2.3 billion (US$18.53m) in additional funding by Unitaid.

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