Communicable Diseases Control in Kenya
The prevalence of communicable disease in Kenya is a major factor in determining health outcomes, with co-infection rates for TB, Malaria which represents another significant burden with 13.6% of deaths in children under five caused by the disease. Therefore the communicable diseases are as seen below
Malaria is a mosquito borne infectious disease of humans and other animals caused by protists of the genus Plasmodium. It begins with a bite from an infected female Anopheles mosquito, which introduces the protists through saliva into the circulatory system. In the blood, the protists travel to the liver to mature and reproduce. Malaria causes symptoms that typically include fever and headache, which in severe cases can progress to coma or death.
Malaria is one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in Kenya and it kills an estimated 34,000 children under five in Kenya every year. 77% of Kenya’s population lives in areas where the disease is transmitted. The disease is responsible for 30% of out-patient visits and 15% of all hospital admissions. About 3.5 million children are at risk of infection and developing severe malaria.
Pregnant women also face high risks. There are approximately 1.1 million pregnancies per year in malaria endemic areas. During pregnancy, malaria can cause miscarriages and anemia. Each year, an estimated 6,000 pregnant women suffer from malaria-associated anemia, and 4,000 babies are born with low birth weight as a result of maternal anemia. Economically, it is estimated that 170 million working days in Kenya are lost each year because of malaria illness.
To assist the Government of Kenya’s (GOK) Division of Malaria Control (DOMC), PMI supports four key interventions to prevent and treat malaria in line with the National malaria Strategy 2099-2017:
- Indoor residual spraying
- Providing insecticide-treated mosquito nets
- Buying and distributing lifesaving drugs;
- Delivering treatment for pregnant women
Tuberculosis is caused by bacteria that spread from person to person through microscopic droplets released into the air. This can happens when someone with the untreated, active form of tuberculosis coughs, speaks, sneezes, spits, laughs or sings
TB Situation in Kenya
Kenya is one of the 22 high TB burden countries and is ranked 13th according to the WHO Global Tuberculosis Report 2010. The Government of Kenya (GOK) is implementing all the six components of STOP TB strategy which have been further divided into 15 thematic areas in the 2011-2015 National strategic Plans. During the year 2010, 106,083 patients were notified representing a 4% decrease compared to the 110,065 cases reported in 2009. The high burden of tuberculosis has mainly been attributed to the high prevalence of HIV, now estimated at 7.1% for the general population. According to 2010 data, 41% of tuberculosis patients had HIV co-infection.
In 2010, a total of 112 MDR TB cases were identified and notified to the WHO. By the end of 2010, the country had cumulatively initiated 180 patients on treatment with 70 of them being initiated within the year. DR TB expected to rise over the years. The actual burden will be better understood after the planned Drug Resistance Survey (DRS) and TB prevalence survey to be conducted in 2012.
Kenya’s TB control program has relatively good number and mix of human resource. In total 297 Health professionals are deployed by the GOK to be engaged in TB control program including 46 at national, 36 at provincial and 215 at district level technically reporting to Division of Leprosy, TB, and other lung disease (DLTLD). A total of 155 District Medical Laboratory technicians are participating in quarterly External Quality Assessment (EQA) at district level. In addition to these staff, DLTLD has also recruited 115 lab personnel, 5 technical staffs at national level and 50 medical assistances deployed in districts with the support of Global Fund and other partners. The TB treatment service at health facility is fully integrated in the general health services with a designated DOTs clinic.