Posted on: April 5, 2011 Posted by: Diane Swarts Comments: 0

Tuberculosis test kits delivering results in two hours, are now used in Kenya. Computer enabled equipment produces results in 100 minutes.

Previous technology requried six weeks. The new test was endorsed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in December 2010, and the test can also detect drug resistance to TB.

Ms Judy Waguma of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said the first kits would be available at MSF clinics in Kibera, Homa Bay and Mathare.

Test machines costs about Sh1.38-million but WHO has promised to negotiate a lower price for low and middle income countries.

Kenya ranks 13th on the list of 22 high burden TB countries and has the fifth highest burden in Africa.

According to WHO’s Global TB Report 2009, Kenya had 132 000 new TB cases and an incidence rate of 142 new cases per 100 000 people.

Dr Joseph Sitienei, head of Kenya’s Division of Leprosy, TB and Lung Diseases, said last year there were 30 cases of Multi-Drug Resistant Tuberculosis (MDR-TB) which have been cured.

Kenya had identified 552 MDR-TB cases, and only 112 are on treatment at various hospitals.

MDR TB drugs cost multiplied

MSF noted that the cost of some of the medicines required to treat drug resistance TB has increased 800-fold in the last decade, despite being old drugs with serious side effects, riddled with supply problems, said Dr Tido von Schoen-Angerer of MSF.

A 24 month drug resistant treatment regimen can cost as much as Sh750 000, which is 470 times more than the cost of curing standard TB.

TB vaccine trial

A Phase 2 TB vaccine trial involves 64 infants from Siaya in Nyanza, led by Dr Grace Kiringa, evaluating AERAS-402 /Crucell Ad35 vaccine

In previous studies on healthy adults, adults living with HIV and healthy infants, no serious adverse events have been reported.

Worldwide Stop TB programme

Stop TB Partnership Challenge (STBPC) Facility for civil society, will fund 22 organisations in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America to raise public tuberculosis awareness and lifestyle skills.

The STBPC Facility grants range from US$5000 to US$20 000, aiming to support community based organisations in raising awareness of the TB pandemic, by advocacy and social mobilisation, empowering individuals and communities to fight the spread of TB, reports African Science news service.

NGOs are respected for giving a voice to people affected by TB and those involved in TB prevention and care, and for helping to shape local policies aimed at getting TB prevention and response information to communities at risk of the pandemic.

Dr Lucica Ditiu, STBP executive secretary, said funding proposals are selected by a committee of 10 representatives from each participating community affected by TB, NGOs from developing and developed countries, and multilateral or technical agencies.

The STBPC Facility has awarded US$1.6-million in grants to agencies 37 countries. A total of 88 grants have been awarded in the first four rounds.

Source; Africa Science News Service.

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