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Kenya’s Health Cabinet Secretary, Nakhumicha Joins Global Leaders in launching Coalition to End tuberculosis (TB)

In a significant move to combat tuberculosis (TB) on a global scale, Kenya’s Health Cabinet Secretary, Nakhumicha S. Wafula, representing H.E. President William Ruto, joined world leaders at the launch of the Coalition of Leaders to End Tuberculosis. 

The launch of the Coalition of Leaders to End TB is seen as a crucial step toward mobilizing global action and investments needed to accelerate TB control efforts and meet the targets outlined in the Global Plan to End TB by 2030. 

Kenya expressed its support for the coalition, emphasizing the importance of equitable access to TB prevention and care, aligning with the Sustainable Development Goal of ending the TB epidemic by 2030 and achieving Universal Health Coverage. 

The event, held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on Tuesday, September 19, 2023, coincided with the UNGA High-Level Meeting on Tuberculosis.

TB remains a pressing global health challenge, with Kenya ranking among the 30 countries responsible for 80% of the world’s TB burden. 

In Sub-Saharan Africa, Kenya stands as one of the top five nations grappling with the profound impact of this infectious disease. The Cabinet Secretary emphasized the disproportionate effect of TB on marginalized and vulnerable populations, often deprived of access to quality healthcare services, which further exacerbates existing inequalities. 

She said the Government of Kenya has made substantial efforts to intensify Active Case Finding, a proactive approach to identifying individuals who may have fallen through the gaps of the healthcare system. “These endeavors have paid off, positioning Kenya as one of the few high-burden countries to meet the 2020 WHO End TB strategy milestones, including significant reductions in TB incidence and fatalities,” she noted. 

Despite these achievements, the CS acknowledged the recent resurgence of TB cases and deaths on a global scale, combined with the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and other factors, has raised concerns about maintaining progress in the fight against TB. For the first time in over a decade, TB deaths and infections have increased worldwide. 

 She also highlighted the significance of integrating TB efforts into Primary Health Care (PHC) to ensure comprehensive access to prevention and care while strengthening healthcare systems. 

Kenya has established a primary health care approach focused on preventive and promotive health, with plans to enhance PHC capacities in the near future. 

Nakhumicha stressed the need for increased financing for TB programs, research and development, and domestic manufacturing of TB-related products. Kenya has committed to rapid adoption and scaling up of new tools for TB diagnosis, treatment, and prevention, aligning with the government’s commitment to ensure universal health coverage. 

She underscored the Government of Kenya’s dedication to working collaboratively to leave no one behind in the fight against TB. She called on fellow Heads of State to create a supportive policy environment for countries to swiftly adopt and scale up these new tools, ensuring that the ambitious targets of the Global Plan to End TB by 2030 are met. 

The launch of the Coalition of Leaders to End TB reflects a united effort to maintain TB as a top political priority and work towards its eradication. Kenya expressed appreciation for the efforts of the Stop TB Partnership, WHO, and various partners in sustaining global TB awareness and action.

Source: African Business



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