Kenya Celebrates World TB Day with New Data from the National TB Prevalence Survey

Improved Data from Survey Informs Kenya’s Response to End TB

NAIROBI, Kenya (March 24, 2017) – Today, the Kenya Ministry of Health releases the much anticipated results of the National TB Prevalence Survey—the first of its kind since Kenya’s independence. The global theme for World TB Day 2017 is “Unite to End TB” and the U.S. government is a long committed partner to Kenya in this fight. This survey represents a united front by many committed parties to determine the true burden of TB and how to best combat the fourth leading cause of death in Kenya. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provided technical and scientific support to the Government of Kenya in the design and implementation of the survey, and $575,000 in funding to conduct the survey.

More than 63,000 people across 45 counties were screened for the survey and for the first time, there are accurate data on TB prevalence. Among the survey findings, it was revealed that:

  • There are more TB cases in Kenya than previously estimated, with a TB prevalence of 558 per 100,000 people.
  • TB was found to be higher in young men between the ages of 25 and 34 years, urban dwellers and women over the age of 65.
  • The majority (83%) of TB cases were HIV negative, suggesting that broad efforts at controlling TB in people with and without HIV are needed
  • The current practice of screening for TB symptoms and using microscopy as the only test misses many cases.
  • The use of the GeneXpert (an innovative technology for the diagnosis of TB) detected 78% of the TB cases, among those screened, making it a more reliable and efficient test.

The Cabinet Secretary of Health, Dr. Cleopa Mailu, said that, “In light of these results and in an effort to find the missing TB cases, the Government commits to…make TB diagnostics accessible where patients seek care by expanding the use of Chest X-ray to screen all persons presumed to have TB and make GeneXpert the first diagnostic test for all presumed TB cases.” World TB Day 2017 marks a critical turning point in redirecting efforts that will improve TB testing and diagnosis, increase engagement with the private sector, carry out targeted approaches through community-based action, improve community awareness of TB symptoms, and make TB everyone’s business. More than ever before, we can direct the right interventions to the right places at the right time. For more information about the National TB Prevalence Survey results, visit www.nltp.co.ke.

# # #

U.S. Government Investments in TB

The U.S. government is the largest donor to TB control in Kenya with a combined contribution of $21 million through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), USAID and CDC. TB control activities supported by the U.S. government include prevention, diagnosis and treatment of TB and TB/HIV co-infection, and supporting research on TB prevalence and control in Kenya. The goal of these efforts are to substantially accelerate the decline in TB cases and deaths in Kenya.

About PEPFAR

The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is the U.S. Government initiative to support partner nations around the world in responding to HIV/AIDS. Since 2004, the US government has been the predominant donor in the HIV response in Kenya with an investment of at least $6.5 billion dollars. PEPFAR’s Kenya program is currently the largest global U.S. Government HIV program. For more information, visit www.PEPFAR.gov.

About CDC

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is America’s premier health promotion, prevention, and preparedness agency and a global leader in public health. CDC is at the forefront of public health efforts to prevent and control infectious and chronic diseases, injuries, workplace hazards, disabilities, and environmental health threats. The agency is globally recognized for conducting research and investigations and for its action-oriented approach to public health. CDC’s Division of Global HIV and TB (DGHT) provides leadership in the fight against HIV and TB in resource-constrained countries by assisting partner governments to strengthen laboratory, epidemiology, surveillance, public health evaluation and workforce capacity–essential components for strong and sustainable public health systems. For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/globalhivtb.

About USAID

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is the lead U.S. Government agency that works to end extreme global poverty and enable resilient, democratic societies to realize their potential. In Kenya, USAID is the largest donor supporting the health sector. USAID works with the Government of Kenya, civil society, faith-based organizations and the private sector on HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care; family planning and reproductive, maternal, neonatal, child and adolescent health; nutrition; water, sanitation and hygiene; malaria prevention and treatment; and tuberculosis control and treatment. Interventions include technical assistance to support the national Ministry of Health and county governments; improving health service delivery; training of healthcare professionals; procurement and management of health commodities; health communication and marketing; strengthening the health workforce; supporting pharmacovigilance; health financing; and health information management. For more information, visit: www.usaid.gov/what-we-do/global-health.

About the National Tuberculosis Leprosy and Lung Disease Program (NTLD-Program), Kenya MOH

The NTLD-Program sits under the Division of National Strategic Health Programs in the Department of Preventive and Promotive Health at the Ministry of Health. The program aims to reduce the burden of lung disease in Kenya and render Kenya free of Tuberculosis and Leprosy. The program plans to do this by sustaining and improving Tuberculosis, Leprosy and Lung disease control gains in order to accelerate the reduction of Tuberculosis incidence, intensify post-elimination Leprosy activities and control lung disease. For more information, visit www.nltp.co.ke.