NAIROBI, July 4 -- The World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday urged Kenya to increase its domestic investment in Tuberculosis (TB) in order to eradicate the disease.
Enos Masini, WHO Kenya TB and Malaria Coordinator, told a media briefing in Nairobi that reliance on foreign donors to fund the TB campaign is not sustainable in the long run.
"In the past, TB drugs were provided by foreign donors and but now increasingly the government is catering for the medication. In order to build on the momentum, we are asking Kenya to scale up domestic resources for TB," Masini said during the launch and dissemination of the findings of Kenya's first tuberculosis patient cost survey.
According to the report, 62.5 percent of Drug Resistant TB patients lost their jobs due to TB and in 9.3 percent of the TB affected households, children schooling was interrupted.
The study is in line with the WHO strategy to end TB by 2035. The survey, which is the first in Africa, was carried out with the support of the WHO.
The specialized agency of the UN on health will also provide support to the ministry of health to translate the report's recommendations into policies.
Masini said Kenya has made significant progress in the past ten years in controlling TB as over one million people have been successfully treated. "However, TB is still a major killer as it is the fourth largest cause of death in Kenya," Masini said.
According to WHO, Kenya is among the 30 high burden countries which together contribute 85 percent of all global TB cases.
Masini said one of the gaps in Kenya's health system is that close to 50 percent of all people who fall sick with TB are neither diagnosed nor treated.
Sicily Kariuki, the Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Health, said in 2017, Kenya reported and treated 85,188 TB patients, among them 7,771 children.
Kariuki said the number of Drug Resistant TB cases has been on the increase over the years and as of 2017, the figure reached 577 people, all of whom are currently on treatment.