NAIROBI, Jan. 31 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's health ministry is carrying out a Tuberculosis prevalence survey that will determine the accurate burden of TB in Kenya and inform policy formulation.
A statement from the ministry received on Tuesday said the survey, which is the first since independence, is based on data that was collected from all the counties and will be released on March 24.
Head of the National TB, Leprosy and Lung Disease Program Dr. Enos Masini said the survey would guide and enhance ongoing interventions, noting that the government spends close to 25 million U.S. dollars every year providing free TB diagnosis and treatment services.
Masini said the findings of the survey are expected to boost the country's efforts in ending TB by giving a clear picture of the disease burden as Kenya has been relying on estimates from the World Health Organization.
"Kenya is placed among 30 high TB burden countries in the world with an estimated 120,000 Kenyans contracting the disease every year," he said.
TB, which is the fourth leading cause of death in Kenya, can be treated but there were previously no child-friendly formulations of medicines in the right dosage.
TB testing and treatment is free at all public health facilities in Kenya and if any member of the household is diagnosed with the disease, all other household members should be tested for TB, especially children.
According to Masini, 82,000 people in Kenya were treated for TB in 2015 alongside 450 others for drug resistant TB.
Masini said the government has put in place an elaborate network of public and private facilities that are equipped to test and treat TB.
"Unlike in many countries, the government of Kenya buys 80 percent of TB drugs and Kenya is slowly moving away from donor support. We have done well in TB control but we need better data so that we can do even better," Masini said.
He further revealed that over the last 10 years, the government had successfully treated close to one million Kenyans who were suffering from TB and further averted the deaths of an estimated half a million Kenyans during the same period. In addition, the government and its partners have provided Counties with cutting-edge technology for TB testing.
TB is currently the leading infectious killer disease in the world having overtaken HIV two years ago. The findings of the survey will also support plans by both National and County governments to end TB.
The TB Prevalence survey has been conducted with support from the Global Fund and USAID among other partners.