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TB survivor from Meru seeks to ease the burden of infections in the County

Dominic Kaunyangi visits different villages in Meru to educate and help people against contracting Tuberculosis and the preventive measures to put in place to avoid infecting others. Dominic contracted TB from his brother, who at some point refused to seek medical help. He had to call Public Health officers for the brother to be treated.

Many people are afraid of seeking medical attention because of the stigma that comes with it. Patients are forced to take 15 tablets every day for over a year for them to recover. Meru is the third county leading in TB infections, and Kenya is ranked as the fourth country with the highest TB infections.

In 2019, 33,000 people succumbed to the disease, as 140,000 others got infected in the same year. Mr Dominic joined the Network of TB Champions, and since then, it has been his goal to ensure more people are not infected.

He says,”¬†One of the reasons TB infections are high is stigma. Patients who are afraid of being stigmatised by friends and family fail to seek treatment or take drugs. They end up infecting others. As a TB survivor, I can convince patients to accept their condition and start their journey of healing”.

He also says that the first thing in preventing the infection is to ensure you are in a well-ventilated room. Patients are encouraged to take nutritious foods and supplements. The groups formed by the survivors aim to reduce the stigma associated with the disease.

Evelyne Kibuchi, the coordinator of Stop TB Partnership, says that the situation is complicated ever since the outbreak of Covid-19. She seeks more resources as TB patients are not attended to as before. Other methods for diagnosing the diseases are being advocated for as it is difficult for a child to produce sputum.

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