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Kenya Leads in Child-Friendly Tuberculosis Medicines to Combat Childhood TB – The East Observer



Kenya pioneers child-friendly TB medicines to combat childhood TB cases, aiming to enhance treatment adherence and reduce mortality rates. Despite significant progress in TB control, challenges persist, emphasizing the importance of early detection and concerted efforts across sectors to improve access to prevention, testing, and treatment services.

Kenya is at the forefront of introducing child-friendly Tuberculosis (TB) medications, starting October 1, 2024, ensuring appropriate doses and flavors tailored for children’s needs.

Mary Muriuki, the Public Health and Professional Standards Principal Secretary (PS), highlighted Kenya’s commitment to eradicating TB, especially concerning children, with close to 7,000 cases reported among infants and children in 2015.

The implementation of child-friendly TB medicines aims to enhance treatment adherence, reduce childhood mortality, and combat drug-resistant TB, a significant concern.

Despite remarkable strides in combating TB over the past decade, Kenya faces ongoing challenges due to the disease’s impact on families and communities. TB primarily affects the lungs but can affect various body parts and spreads through the air via infected individuals coughing.

Ms. Muriuki emphasized Kenya’s achievements in TB control, with 1.2 million diagnoses and successful treatment of one million patients, preventing over 500,000 deaths. Kenya stands as the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to meet World Health Organization (WHO) targets for TB case detection and treatment success.

Accessible TB testing and treatment services across 4,000 public and private health facilities have played a pivotal role. Additionally, the introduction of 120 GeneXpert machines for rapid TB testing showcases Kenya’s leadership in leveraging modern technology for diagnosis.

Quality assurance measures and the availability of digital X-ray machines nationwide further strengthen testing services. Joint TB/HIV activities have been prioritized, with over 94% of TB patients tested for HIV and over 93% receiving antiretroviral therapy in the last five years.

Kenya’s proactive measures include preventive treatment for people living with HIV, with nearly 400,000 individuals enrolled in preventive treatment using Isoniazid, making it the second-largest program globally.

Despite these advancements, TB remains the fourth leading cause of death in Kenya, with drug-resistant TB posing a persistent challenge. Ms. Muriuki stressed the importance of early detection, urging immediate attention for symptoms like cough, fever, weight loss, and night sweats.

To accelerate progress, concerted efforts are needed across sectors to advocate for improved access to TB prevention, testing, and treatment services.
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Kenya Leads in Child-Friendly Tuberculosis Medicines to Combat Childhood TB

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