The Ministry of Health through the National Tuberculosis Leprosy and lung Disease program Kenya on Monday launched new National Strategic Plan (NSP) for Tuberculosis, Leprosy & Lung Health 2023/24-2027/28.
The newly launched 2023/24-2027/28 NSP key strategic focus will be anchored on six pillars which include optimization of the current patient-centric TB interventions. Adoption of new technologies and innovations. Leveraging universal health coverage (UHC) and community systems. Tailoring interventions to sub national -epidemics. Focus on communities, human rights and gender as well as multi-sectoral engagement for effective TB control.
According to the Principal secretary state department for public health and professional standards, Mary Muthoni Muriuki 2023/24-2027/28 national strategic plan (NSP) for tuberculosis, leprosy and lung health lays out strategic and technical direction that will act as a guidance document to TB program managers, partners and other stakeholders, including donors for planning, implementation and monitoring of strategic interventions and activities to reach the goal and objectives for ending TB by 2030 in the country.
“This NSP provides a clear and thoughtful roadmap towards the greater and more sustained achievement of key strategic objectives and approaches to reach the 2030 deadline for the end TB strategy’s milestone,’’ PS Muthoni said during the launch.
The NSP prioritizes reaching out to actively screen for treatment or preventive therapy the contacts of all TB patients, especially children and people living with HIV as well as high risk populations such as healthcare workers.
Through evidence based and impactful interventions the NSP envisions increasing TB preventive treatment coverage among eligible people from 32 percent in 2021 to 80 percent by 2028 targeting at least 681,081 people at risk by 2028.
It also gives direction of how the country will increase treatment coverage for Drug resistant TB (DS TB) from 63 percent to 80 percent and multi-drug resistance TB case detection rate from 69 percent to 80 percent by 2028.
The strategic plan also calls for strengthening provision of integrated TB/HIV and other co-morbidities services at sub-national levels by 2028.
On leprosy interventions, the plan envisions reduction of number of people diagnosed with multibacillary leprosy amongst new cases up from 95 percent to below 25 percent by 2028.
Inorder to achieve the objectives the plan encourages the stakeholders to strengthen program management coordination and accountability of Tb services by 2028.
According to PS Muthoni the key objective of this NSP is to move closer to the global target of eliminating TB by 2030, through a combination of quality prevention, diagnostic and treatment services for TB, Leprosy and Lung diseases. She added that community health workers will play a pivotal role in screening TB.
She however noted that despite an increase of case detection rates misdiagnosis of TB cases is still a challenge in TB elimination goal.
“In 2022, Kenya reported a total of 90,851 TB cases, an increase of 77,854 cases reported in 2021 and 756 drug resistant T.B in 2022,” PS Muthoni said.
WHO country representative, Dr. Abdourahmane Diallo said that Kenya’s commendable progress towards ending TB is underscored by its inclusion among seven high burden countries globally that exceeded the End TB strategy milestone for TB incidence and mortality.
He said that Kenya recorded a 38 percent reduction in TB incidence against a target of 20 percent and 54 percent reduction in the number of TB deaths against a target of 35 percent compared to the baseline year of 2015 was reported in 2022.
Speaking at the event USAID HPN Director John Kuehnle’s said the National Strategic Plan for TB is an important step toward eliminating TB in Kenya, building on the progress achieved to date in improved case detection and improved treatment outcomes.
“Building a strong and resilient primary health care system is a key tool in eliminating TB in Kenya, as community health promoters are the bedrock of early detection and treatment, “he said.
While Stop TB partnership Kenya representative Everlyne Kibuchi said that the previous strategic plans yielded positive outcomes by successful engagement of political leadership including having two sessions at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) discussing TB. She added that the previous plans established Kenya parliamentary TB caucus chaired by Hon Stephen Mule.
“Through collaborative effort with communities and civil society organizations we have achieved incredible milestones including notable reduction in TB related incidences and fatalities,” she noted.
The National Strategic Plan for Tuberculosis, Leprosy, and Lung Health 2023/24 – 2027/28 was developed through a rigorous, multisectoral consultative process led by the Ministry of Health (MOH) and involving key stakeholders, donors, and partners. This plan builds on past achievements, addresses challenges, and incorporates new developments and evidence to accelerate progress towards ending TB by 2030.
The launch of the NSP, was also done alongside launch of advancements in pediatric TB diagnostic algorithm and the pediatric TB shorter -term regimen treatment, and national TB laboratory operational plan and national quality management framework for TB diagnostic laboratories which will focus on laboratory excellence as pivotal steps toward conquering TB as a public health threat.