Turkana County commemorated World Tuberculosis (TB) Day with a call to action to end the epidemic through intensified screening for early diagnosis and treatment.
Marked annually on the 24th of March, World TB Day is meant to remind people that TB still remaining one of the world’s deadliest infectious killers. This year’s theme “Yes, We Can End TB,” calls on all those involved in the fight against TB to unite and increase their investments in the fight against the disease.
While reading the speech on behalf of the Health and Sanitation Chief Officer, the County Aids and STIs Coordinator – Samuel Pulkol, stressed the need for everyone to be vigilant in seeking medical assistance if experiencing any of the common TB symptoms.
“Community Health Volunteers should step up their TB health talks in their units and refer possible cases of TB for screening,” he said.
Partner representatives from World Relief Kenya, USAID Imarisha Jamii, Kenya Red Cross and AHF Kenya had a common message that TB was curable and advised those diagnosed with the disease to be diligent in taking their medication.
In 2022, Turkana reported 3062 TB cases, up from 2632 in 2021. Turkana is one of the top 10 high burden counties for TB in Kenya, with a TB case notification rate above 164 per 100,000 people.
Despite the challenges, Turkana is making progress in the fight against TB. The microscopy diagnostic sites have increased from 40 in 2021 to 43 in 2023, and the treatment sites have increased from 60 in 2021 to 80 in 2022. As a result, the county has achieved an 86% treatment success rate.
To increase TB screening efforts, the Turkana South Sub-county TB Coordinator, John Lukado, will be conducting free TB screening at Uhuru and AGC High Schools in Lokichar. The request was made by teachers after several cases were reported.
The fight against TB in Turkana County is a collaborative effort that also involves other partners such as the Division of National Tuberculosis, Leprosy and Lung Disease Program, Save the Children Kenya, International Rescue Committee, Centre for Health Solutions, Diocese of Lodwar, AIC Health Ministries and Lodwar Hills Hospital, all coordinated by the County Government of Turkana.