- Covid-19 and TB are both respiratory infections that can be transmitted by a person with the disease who may release pathogens into the air when breathing out.
- These pathogens can then be inhaled into the respiratory tract of another person.
Thousands of TB patients missed their clinics in 2020 because they were mistaken for Covid-19 patients.
A new report by the Ministry of Health and Amref Health Africa shows a third of all TB patients reported missing appointments.
Sometimes they were also told to avoid health facilities altogether because their immunity is low.
The report, which was launched in Nairobi on Tuesday, says four out of every 10 patients said they incurred heavier costs in seeking health services.
It says apart from being thought of having Covid-19, TB patients also feared forceful testing and being put on quarantine.
“As we all know, Covid-19 dealt a big blow to the healthcare system and ravaged our socio-economic fabric, not to mention the millions of lives lost,” Dr Meshack Ndirangu, the country director of Amref Health Africa in Kenya said during the launch of the report.
The report is titled: “Experiences and effects of Covid-19 on accessibility and delivery of HIV, TB, and malaria services among health care workers and users in Kenya.”
Covid-19 and TB are both respiratory infections that can be transmitted by a person with the disease who may release pathogens into the air when breathing out.
These pathogens can then be inhaled into the respiratory tract of another person.
The report however lauds the government and health workers for interventions that saw TB, HIV and malaria patients continue to access drugs.
“As we continue along the path to resilience, we need to do more to prioritise institutional strengthening without forgetting the communities. They are at the centre of our work and mostly affected when pandemics strike,” Ndirangu said.
He said people with chronic diseases are still suffering as many are yet to receive Covid-19 vaccines.
Health DG Patrick Amoth said the lessons learnt will be applied in future responses.
“We must increase resilience founded on primary healthcare. The government has shown commitment to strengthen regulatory frameworks,” he said.
Amoth said since the onset of the outbreak, countries have made difficult decisions to continue delivering critical services.
“We will be living with Covid for the foreseeable future and we will need to manage it through a sustained system, providing future preparedness,” he said in a speech read by Simon Kibias, acting director health standards at the ministry.
“We should learn from the experiences documented by health workers in supporting TB, malaria and HIV patients.”
Earlier this week, another report showed persons with hearing impairment had the lowest reach of the Covid-19 intervention messages by the government in 2020 and 2021.
According to a September 2022 report by the African Population and Health Research Centre, only 59 per cent of people with hearing impairment in Kwale, Taita Taveta, Embu and Homa Bay received the intervention messages.
Sixty seven per cent of people with cognition impairments and 69 per cent with hearing impairments were reached in the interventions.
The report evaluated the inclusiveness, effectiveness and outcome of the Hygiene and Behaviour Change Coalition interventions for persons with disabilities, older people and their caregivers in Kenya.
The HBCC programme was introduced by the Ministry of Health and other health private sector players to raise awareness on hygiene behaviours to curb the spread of Covid-19.
“More than half (58 per cent) of the respondents with some form of disability and 71 per cent of older people received hygiene and behaviour change messages, mainly from the Ministry of Health,” the report said.
“The most common messages received were on mask use, hand washing with soap and social distancing, which were mainly received from broadcasting media (TV and radio).”
The Covid-19 pandemic had a disproportionate impact on the lives of persons with disability and older people owing to their vulnerability, such as underlying medical or chronic conditions.
Article first published on https://www.the-star.co.ke/news/2022-10-04-they-thought-we-all-had-covid-say-tb-patients/