Lamu raises red flag on increased new TB infections


Lamu, KENYA: Lamu county has raised alarm over the increased cases of new Tuberculosis-TB infections in Lamu has gone up in the last few months.

This is according to the County TB coordinator Abdulkadir Zubeir.

Speaking in his office on Tuesday,Zubeir said 161 fresh TB cases were discovered in Lamu town alone in the single month of January this year.

He said that almost a similar number have been recorded between February and June this year.

Zubeir says the number is twice what it was in previous years where just about 80 new TB cases were recorded annually among locals.

He said drinking dens were the leading areas where the most of the new TB infections are picked up.

“Right now are talking about at least 600 new TB cases in one year alone. In the last five years, we only had like 80 cases in one year. The situation is worrying because the trend is spiraling. We have noted that majority of those new infections were picked up from drinking dens. Maybe due to the crowded nature of such places, we are yet to ascertain,” said Zubeir.

He also cited misleading cultural beliefs as yet another cause of the spread of TB.

“Some people believe that a concoction of honey and ginger cures TB and as such, they never come to the hospital for treatment. In that situation, they end up infecting every other person that’s in contact with them for the entire period they remain sick. We need to move away from that,” said Zubeir.

He also noted that HIV prevalence among TB patients in Lamu had gone down drastically to 10% as compared to previous years when the numbers were higher.

However, he said his office had already launched campaigns to create awareness and encourage locals to prompt treatment for never-ending coughs so as to deter further spread.

The official also urged the county government to increase the number of TB testing centers so as to reach as many people as possible.

“We only have 13 TB testing centres here in Lamu and even the qualified staff for the job are so few. We need those increased,” said Zubeir.