MoH Launches Four Tuberculosis Policy Documents To Manage The Disease

by Amref Health Africa

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 16 – The Ministry of Health (MoH) on Tuesday launched four Tuberculosis (TB) policy documents which will provide health care workers with interim guidance in managing patients with presumed or Confirmed TB or Covid 19 and follow up.

The launch of the Public-Private Mix Action Plan, Interim COVID-19/TB Management Guide, Integrated TB Leprosy and Lung Disease Guideline, and the Revised Asthma Management Guideline highlight the need for more investment in the management processes.

These key policy documents will provide up-to-date information to Health care workers and managers involved in TB and/or COVID-19 control to provide guidance on TB and COVID-19 bidirectional screening, Diagnosis of TB and COVID-19, Management of patients with TB, COVID-19 and TB-COVID-19, Improve the recording and reporting of COVID-19 and TB patients identified.

Acting Health Director General Patrick Amoth noted that TB and Covid-19 are major public health problems with the virus disproportionately affecting TB services and investments made in its control.

COVID-19 effects on TB include: Treatment interruption, continued community transmission, Development severe disease increasing risk of post TB complications, Development of drug-resistant TB among others.

“The COVID-19 pandemic threatened years of progress towards control of the TB epidemic. The disruption in the healthcare system caused by the pandemic resulted in a reduction in the number of TB patients diagnosed and a rise in those interrupting treatment,” Amoth said.

“Similarities between TB and COVID-19 present an opportunity to control these diseases in an effective manner without significant additional stress on our health system.”

Expounding on one of the documents, the PPM Action Plan 2021-2023, Ministry of Health Coordinator of TB Prevention and Care Action Plan, Nkirote Mwirigi said that it has three pillars among them effective leadership and stewardship, optimization of delivery, monitoring and evaluation of PPM interventions which will increase the number of private facilities offering TB services. 

“Despite the private sector being autonomous and dynamic, it is crucial for the public and private sector to work together to create a synergy in ending the TB pandemic,” Mwirigi noted. 

The Health DG highlighted the need to promote the Public-Private Mix (PPM) in TB control as the private sector has been shown to account for 48% of health facilities with a significant proportion of people seeking care from these facilities.

“The TB patient pathway analysis of 2016 showed that 42% of patients with TB symptoms access the private sector as the initial point of care. In addition, 27% of the people with TB symptoms seek care from individual private providers who have inadequate engagement with the public system.”

Globally, in 2020, 10 million people developed TB and 1.7 million deaths occurred.

In 2020, the country notified 72,943 TB cases of whom 8% (5,663) were children. The 2016 prevalence survey showed that the country nearly misses 40% of the estimated cases.

Respiratory Society of Kenya, Founder Member Professor Jeremiah Chakaya, lauded the achievements that have been made to date in the fight against TB, he however noted that more needs to be done and urged health professionals to disseminate the guidelines contained in the documents and ensure they are properly adhered to. 

In a quick rejoinder, USAID TB and HIV Specialist Maurice Maina said that USAID has partnered with the government and has already printed and disseminated 4500 copies of TB awareness literature material, trained healthcare workers and even supported the PPM Action plan.

AMREFs Meshack Ndirangu echoed the need for power partnerships, innovation and embracing emerging best practices on TB and lung disease control.

“Reaching all care providers and health care workers to effectively prevent, diagnose and treat TB, Asthma and COVID-19 will require a people-centred approach, with comprehensive and integrated health services that address the needs of the whole person.” 

Article first published on

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