The head of Turkana County TB and Leprosy program Dr. Job Okemwa led a team of stakeholders to a one day programme Performance Review meeting at the wellness center of the Lodwar County Referral Hospital (LCRH) this morning.
During the meeting, it was communicated that the infrastructure for TB management included 29 diagnostic sites, 211 facilities, 55 treatment sites and 6 treatment zones.
Participants of the meeting noted the slight improvement in the diagnosis of TB cases has been due to the innovative approaches in contact tracing and testing.
The roles and contributions of the community health volunteers (CHVs) were also noted as significantly in supporting the process especially in respect to community based approaches and strengthening active case finding at household levels.
Dr Okemwa noted that the involvement of Impact Research and Development Organization (IRDO) has helped in training at least 15 CHVs in every sub county of Turkana.
Dr Okemwa noted that the key priorities for the ministry in combating the TB problem would be hinged on strengthened IPC training, contact management, upgrading of TB treatment infrastructure and establishment of new diagnostic sites.
It was further noted that safety of health care workers handling TB patients had not been prioritised as expected. The meeting resolved to upscale the screening of facility staff with the help of the ministry after every six months.
The factors that contributed to lessening the TB burden in the county included; partners participation especially IRDO, advanced drug resistant TB training of 20 clinicians at Kakuma, existence of harmonised county and national strategic plan on TB, health advocacy and cross border treatment initiatives.
Despite the progress made, the setbacks realized over the period were; lack of localised TB messages, weak linkages between the facilities and the community and knowledge gaps on the part of the CHVs on TB management.
The challenges notwithstanding, the county TB program has been able to initiate active case finding, involvement of CHVs, contact tracing and management and partnership with EGPAF.
The ultimate goal of the TB program is to eradicate the TB problem from the county of Turkana and the country as a whole by the year 2030.