KENYA: Displacement raises risk of drug-resistant TB

KENYA: Displacement raises risk of drug-resistant TB


Photo: Siegfried/IRIN
The national referral hospital has already seen seven new cases of MDR-TB from one IDP camp in the capital, Nairobi

NAIROBI, 2 April 2008 (PlusNews) – The threat of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) has been heightened by the displacement of an estimated 300,000 people in Kenya’s recent political crisis, health workers have said.

“During the violence, many displaced people were disrupted from their lives, which meant disruption from drugs,” said Dr Henderson Irimu, head of the HIV/TB treatment care at the Kenyatta National Hospital, the country’s largest referral hospital. “Due to the violence it was impossible for people to come for medication.”

Irimu said there had been an increase in MDR-TB, a form of the disease that does not respond to standard treatment, usually because of a failure to complete first-line treatment. When patients are co-infected with HIV, it is often lethal.

“So far we have seven new cases of MDR-TB who were brought at the hospital from Mathare internally displaced settlement [in the capital, Nairobi],” he said. “Some would come and admit to not having taken TB medication since the violence began.” Continue reading

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