Kenya begins first post-Independence tuberculosis survey

Director of Medical Services Dr Nicholas
Director of Medical Services Dr Nicholas Muraguri (left) with the Principal Investigator and Head of Disease Prevention and Control in the Ministry of Health Dr Joseph Sitienei at Panafric Hotel in Nairobi on July 9,2015 during the launch of the National Tuberculosis Prevalence Survey 2015-2016. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL  

The Ministry of Health will undertake a nationwide tuberculosis prevalence survey at a cost of Sh350 million, the first since the country gained its independence in 1963.

Despite the infectious disease being the fourth leading cause of death in Kenya, health experts have been relying on figures based on the number of patients who seek tuberculosis treatment from health facilities to estimate the burden of the disease in the country.

“But we know that not everyone with TB comes to hospital. So we may be missing some infected people who could be contributing to the spread of TB as they haven’t been put on treatment,” said Dr Enos Masini, head of the national tuberculosis, leprosy and lung disease programme (NTLD) during Thursday’s launch of the survey.

The Health ministry estimates that about 100,000 cases of TB are reported annually in Kenya. However, it notes that another 20,000 remain undetected and untreated.